Blue Bombers score late to defeat Wilson
In what turned out as a seesaw battle most of the night, one might have bet that the last team with the ball would come away with the win as Wilson tried all it could to spoil Palmerton’s Homecoming festivities on Friday night.
The Warriors used a strong passing attack to take the lead numerous times, but in the end it was the Blue Bombers who rallied for a 38-35 Colonial League win.
Faced with a fourth down on the Warriors’ 18-yard-line and trailing by three points, Palmerton’s Lucas Heydt threw one up in the corner of the end zone and Jordan Nelson leaped in the air to haul it in with 37 seconds left on the clock.
After the extra point was blocked, the Warriors gave it one last shot but ran out of downs at the Palmerton 39 and the Bombers ran out the clock.
“We kept bouncing back and bouncing back throughout the game just fighting, said an ecstatic Palmerton head coach Chris Walkowiak. “Obviously the second half didn’t start the way we wanted to when they got that kickoff return for a touchdown and another big play, but we kept our composure even when we went down by 10 points and kept grinding. Our kids are gritty, I’m so proud of them.”
Gritty might have been an understatement. The Bombers held the Warriors to minus yards on the ground forcing them to go to the air most of the night in what was one of their best defensive efforts of the season.
Early on, the Bombers put some decent offensive drives together but were stopped a couple of times in Wilson territory in the first half.
They did manage to put the first points on the board, however, when Nelson hooked up with James Denicola on a 32-yard pass for a touchdown with 6:24 left in the first quarter.
Wilson put a 81-yard drive together at the start of the second quarter when Damian Simpson caught a pass from Cayden Stem for a 38-yard TD. Lorenzo Sigue’s PAT gave the Warriors a 7-6 advantage with 9:30 left in the half.
Alec Snyder intercepted a Nelson pass moments later and in less that a minute, Wilson’s C.J Fazio ran in for a 27 yard TD and after another PAT by Sigue, the Bombers found themselves trailing 14-6.
With 22 seconds left in the half, Andrew Sabo scored the first of his four TDs on the night to pull the Bombes within two at intermission.
Wilson’s Damian Simpson ran back the second half kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown and the Bombers quickly trailed 21-12. But seven plays later, Sabo ran in for a 2-yard TD. The run for a two-point conversion failed, leaving Wilson in front 21-18.
Three plays after the Palmerton score, the Warriors went to the air again and Stem found Zack Gillen wide open for a 56-yard completion and TD with 6:39 still on the clock in the third quarter. Siege’s PAT gave Wilson its biggest lead of the night at 28-18.
At the start of the fourth quarter, Sabo found the end zone once again on a 13-yard run and Nelson’s PAT pulled the Bombes within three again at 28-25.
With the Warriors looking to attack one more time, Palmerton’s Ethan Recker intercepted a pass at his 20 to stop the threat.
Palmerton wound up putting a nice drive together and with just over four minutes remaining, Sabo scored from the one and Nelson added the PAT to give Palmerton its first second half lead at 32-28.
Wilson wasn’t finished however, and three plays after the kickoff, Stem found Damian Simpson open again for a 52-yard touchdown with 3:16 remaining and Sigue’s kick gave Wilson a 35-32 lead.
Palmerton them went 75 yards in 13 plays to score it’s winning touchdown.
“In the pregame speech we told them to just believe in yourself and just do what you have to do and things will take care of themselves and when we were in position to make plays we made them.
“Practices are interesting when you have 18 healthy bodies out there, but after last week’s win, we had a great week Monday through Thursday.
“Heydt came in at quarterback and we moved Jordan (Nelson) out to receiver and he made some big catches early in the first half to change some momentum and our offensive line enabled us to pound the ball on the ground also.”
KING AND QUEEN ... Congrats go out to Isreal Valentin who was crowned King and Emily Recker who was the Queen for this weekend’s homecoming festivities.
AERIAL ATTACK ... Both teams used the airways as each attempted 32 passes and completed 15 passes.
NEXT WEEK ... Palmerton, now 3-5, takes its two-game win streak to Salisbury, while Wilson, now 4-4, hosts Bangor next Saturday.