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Bombers’ Machalik named East MVP

Tamaqua head football coach Sam Bonner got a taste of football in May - and it ignited his flame for the fall.

Bonner was an assistant coach for the East in the PSFCA Small School East-West All-Star Game at Cumberland Valley High School on May 19. The West defeated the East 27-24 in a game that was decided in the final five seconds on a five-yard touchdown pass.

“It wasn’t like your typical all-star game,” said Bonner. “It was a very competitive game. The game reminded me of a Friday-night game.

“A game like this gets your juices going for the season. It was exciting to be out there.”

Palmerton’s Matt Machalik was the East Most Valuable Player, as he completed five of seven passes for 115 yards with two touchdowns. He threw a 16-yard touchdown pass and a 31-yarder down the sideline. Machalik also ran for 16 yards on 11 carries, scoring an 11-yard touchdown jaunt.

Northwestern’s Dalton Clymer ran for 48 yards on seven carries for nearly seven yards a carry.

Along with Machalik and Clymer, other local players in the game were Marian’s Jesse and James Rodino, Palmerton’s Emilio Gonzalez and Zack Anthony, Northern Lehigh’s Sam Frame and Jackson Van Norman, and Northwestern’s Ben Walters.

Despite having just two days of practice, Bonner said all the local players were impressive in their roles.

“Frame played very well at defensive tackle,” said Bonner. “Van Norman played the whole game at center ... Anthony, Walters, Gonzalez, and the Rodino brothers also all had nice games - and Clymer ran hard like he always does.

“Machalik is in the height of his track season, but he is such a competitive player. These kids were very hungry to play the game. You could see it on the field.”

Lehighton head coach Tom McCarroll was also an assistant head coach for the East, and he relished the opportunity.

“We had the privilege to coach some of the top talent in Eastern side of the state in classes 1A, 2A and 3A,” said McCarroll. “It was an absolute pleasure to coach in this game. Along with the players, the staff was great to work with as well. The area was well represented.

“I’m in the weight room six, seven or eight months. We have the all-star game in November, but this one helps get everybody going for the season.

“I had a great time coaching. Our area will miss these great, hard-working kids next season.”

In the Big School game that was played later the same day, the East held off a West fourth-quarter rally for a 15-14 victory.

Palmerton's Matt Machalik was the East MVP in the PSFCA Small School All-Star game. FILE PHOTO