Bombers advance to D11 final
Moving the chains. It’s a pretty well known term in the game of football.
And on Friday night, it seemed to be the Palmerton Blue Bombers’ motto.
That’s because the Bombers (8-3) dominated up front by chewing up yards and the clock throughout the night. Palmerton earned an impressive 19 first downs in the game, en route to a 42-15 victory over Catasauqua in the semifinals of the District 11 2A playoffs. With the win, Palmerton will now go on to play in its second consecutive District 11 2A championship game against Schuylkill League Division 2 champion Schuylkill Haven.
From the onset, the Bombers set the tone offensively, going 64 yards in just seven plays, capping off the drive with a sweet 44-yard pitch-and-catch between quarterback Tekoah Guedes and Cody Waterhouse. Guedes rolled right and flicked it to Waterhouse, who made a nice catch in the right side of the end zone.
After a failed fake punt by the Rough Riders on their ensuing possession, Palmerton once again put together an efficient scoring drive. This time, the Bombers went 45 yards in eight plays, with 32 of those yards coming on the ground. The drive was finished off by a two-yard Guedes plunge and quickly the Bombers were out to a 14-0 advantage with 2:46 left to play in the first quarter.
“I think everybody thinks we’re a passing team, but really we take what the defense gives us and tonight we thought we could have some success running the football and our guys executed,” said Palmerton head coach Chris Walkowiak. “We’re not a one dimensional team, and credit has to go to our lineman tonight for their play. We challenge them every week, but this week we challenged them to move people off the ball, so we could move the sticks and they did a great job. It was a great effort tonight.”
The Bombers’ offense did a good job of moving the ball on the night, while the Palmerton defense did an even better job of limiting yardage. Palmerton held Catasauqua’s first offensive unit to just seven points, which came right before the end of the first half on a nice 24-yard throw that had some zip on it from Roughies’ quarterback Miguel Hernadez to Andrew Martinez. Besides the Hernandez throw and a late score when the game was well in hand, the Bombers forced two punts and also forced Catasauqua to turn it over on downs five times.
The story on the night for the Palmerton “D” was discipline, as it kept speedy Rough Riders’ quarterback Hernandez bottled up in the pocket, not giving him much room to run or get to the edge.
“Hernandez is a great athlete and he’s a scary playmaker back there, but the kids did a good job of reading their keys and then stepping up and making plays and finishing at the point of attack,” said Walkowiak. “Our defensive line and our linebackers I think just did a great job tonight of containing their run game.”
Leading 21-7 at the half, the Bombers wasted no time flexing their muscles, scoring on their first possession of the third quarter, going 50 yards on nine plays. The drive was capped off by a Luke Yaindl 6-yard run and ate up almost four minutes off the clock. The three-score advantage was too much for the Rough Riders to overcome.
“Palmerton is a talented well-coached team and we wish them the best of luck moving forward,” said Catasauqua head coach Phil Dorn. “They played physical tonight, we saw that from them earlier in the year, but our kids played hard as well and fought the whole way. That’s a good football team we played tonight.”