Nelson propels Bombers by Catty
What’s a better word than versatile to describe someone who is exceptional at multiple tasks? Flexible, resourceful and multitalented are all good options, but after last week, there just might be two words that are better than all the rest. Those two words are actually a name, and that name is Jordan Nelson.
Nelson put together a stat line to remember last Friday night in a 59-14 victory over Catasauqua. The junior showed every bit of his versatility, throwing for 235 yards and rushing for 83 yards and three scores, while making an impact on the defensive end, returning an interception 27 yards for a touchdown. Nelson’s impressive performance was more than enough to earn him the Week 7 Times News Player of the Week.
Palmerton (2-5) has had some issues at the quarterback position this season — not from a talent standpoint — but rather in keeping a quarterback healthy. Injuries have forced head coach Chris Walkowiak to play four different quarterbacks this year, but there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel with Nelson’s last three performances.
Nelson, a three-year starter at the wide receiver position, took over the reins of the Bombers offense three weeks ago against Pen Argyl in order to give the offensive unit a jolt. With the Bombers backs up against the wall-and winless- Nelson used his legs to power them to a 62-30 win, rushing for 141 yards and two scores in the process. Nelson’s gusty effort helped to give Palmerton its first win of the season.
“During the week of the Pen Argyl game, I started to get some reps at quarterback at practice, so I knew it was a possibility that I would be back there, and then it was either late second quarter or early in the third quarter when I took over,” said Nelson. “We got some things going in the run game, our offensive line and receivers really opened up some holes for me to run through, staying on their blocks, and then we were able to close out the win.”
Since Week 5, Nelson has led the Bombers to a 2-1 record, getting them right back in the hunt for a District 11 2A playoff berth. Nelson’s move to quarterback has made an immediate impact, as the junior has played a huge role in all facets of the game.
Nelson has thrown for 294 yards, rushed for 232 yards and five scores, caught 15 passes for 214 yards and three touchdowns, returned an interception for a touchdown, leads the team in tackles (90) from his linebacker position, and has kicked 21 extra points. Nelson is responsible for 75 points and 874 total yards, counting kickoff return yardage. The key thing to remember when reading all those numbers is that Nelson’s natural and most comfortable position is wide receiver.
“I think playing wide receiver for as long as I have actually helps me at quarterback, especially throwing, because I know all the routes that are being run, and specifically exactly when a guy is going to get open,” said Nelson. “I think the key has been how well our offensive line and receivers have been playing, giving me time to make plays, and also I’m getting more confident every week. I knew I always had a strong arm, I think it was all about just getting comfortable and confident.
“I also appreciate my coaches and teammates having faith and trust in me, but when it all comes down to it, the numbers and stats and all of that other stuff doesn’t matter, we all have to go out there and do our jobs.”
Three games remain with the Bombers sitting at 2-5 and currently ranked No. 4 in the District 11 2A playoffs. A 5-5 season is what it looks like it’s going to take to cement Palmerton into the postseason, and it’s safe to say that Nelson will be the player behind center to try and help the Bombers get there.
“Jordan is a team player; he’s the kind of guy who says ‘wherever you need me’ and when he started to get more reps in practice at quarterback due to all the injuries we had, I think it really opened our eyes to what he could possibly do there,” said Walkowiak. “It was all about getting him confident and comfortable, and I think he’s there now, and you can see how he’s really embraced the situation and the role, and it would be an understatement to say we’re excited to see what lies ahead.”