2023 Pennsylvania Football Playoff Brackets
PA Football News Scoreboard
The Funding Zone
SAFR: Safer Through Science

Palmerton Ends Drought and Overwhelms Notre Dame Green Pond in Marquis Contest

Tagged under: District 11, Gameday Hub, News, pfn

| September 23, 2023

Near decade long losing streak came to an end in a dominate Blue Bomber performance Friday night.

PALMERTON- The Palmerton Blue Bombers came into Friday night’s Colonial/Schuylkill League contest determined to end a nine game futile effort to knock off the Crusaders of Notre Dame Green Pond, and when the clock struck zero to conclude the battle, for Palmerton: Mission accomplished.

In a match-up of the two-top quarterbacks in the region Matt Machalik of Palmerton and Danny Darno of Notre Dame, it was Machalik’s squad who got the win 41-26 to stay unbeaten at the alfway point of the regular season.

Behind Machilk’s 236 yards rushing and running back Ty Sander adding another 124 yards including three touchdowns and throwing for one, the Bombers never trailed and their first win over the Crusaders since 2014. Palmerton rushed for over 300 yards in the first half alone and managed the clock to not allow the Crusaders high potent offense a chance to operate as the Bombers converted 5-for-5 on fourth down conversions to jump out to a 28-7 halftime lead.

It didn’t start so promising though as the Crusaders took the opening kickoff and returned it to the Palmerton 37, but a 37 yard field goal attempt came up about a yard short. After that it was all the Bombers half.

Palmerton scored on all four possessions, using a methodical no-huddle offense, using up much of the play clock before taking a snap went on a 14 play 50 yard drive culminating in a one yard Machalik score with 4:35 left in the opening quarter.

Then, with under a minute left in the quarter, Notre Dame score on a 16 yard pass from Darno to Julian Baker and tied the score at 7. From their it was all a Blue Bomber blur. Darno finished the night going 13 of 24 passing for 190 yards and two touchdowns, but this night was Machalik and company.

Returning the favor, Palmerton drove downfield the next time they had the ball going 69 yards on 7 plays as Sander scored from four yards out made it 14-7 with 9:36 left in the half.

For their third scoring drive, they carved up the Crusader defense for an eleven play drive that covered 73 yards this time Sander went in from six yards out and a 21-7 lead at the 2:36 mark. But he was not quite done yet.

Sander went on get the superfecta when he picked off a Darno pass at the Notre Dame 42. From the eleven, Machalik handed his back the ball, then slipped out in the flat and Sander lofted the ball back his quarterback, Machalik made a spectacular one handed catch close to the pylon and it was ruled a touchdown and a 28-7 lead with 36 seconds left.

Palmerton received the second half kick and the Notre Dame defense forced a stop and made the Bombers punt. Darno the connected with with A.J Lozano on a 44 yard pass, as Lozano got behind the secondary near the five and hauled the bomb in to cut the lead to to 28-14 with 7:45 left in the quarter.

Each time it looked like the Crusaders woud get some momentum, Machalik and company would come u with something to keep the visitors at bay. With 3:06 left still in the third. Machalik improvised a 43 yard score after a bad snap in the shotgun, he kept his cool scooped up the loose pigskin and scampered down the far sidelines extending the lead to 35-14.

Darno, was under pressure much of the night by the swarming Bomber defense, but was not be deterred to make this a competitive finish. He found the end zone from seven yards out as he kept pushing would-be-tacklers into the end zone to cut the deficit to 35-20 as the PT was no good with 1:57 still in the third quarter.

Each time scored once in the final twelve minutes to close out the scoring. Sander would score from a yard out and Darno threw a 19 yard pass to Julian Baker with 4:30 left.

Machalik became the first player in Blue Bomber history to rush for 1,000 yards in three straight years. The Lehigh commit dashed 38 yards in the first half to hit that milestone.

Up next for Palmerton (5-0) will host Pine Grove next Friday the 1-3 Cardinals were thumped by Jim Thorpe 47-7 Friday. Notre Dame dropped to 3-2 and will have another tough opponent as the go up to Ashland to face 4-1 North Schuylkill. The Spartans laid the beat down on Northern Lehigh 42-6.

Here is, Matt Machalik’s thoughts on the win Friday.

Follow PA Football News on Twitter @PaFootballNews

Rainbow Lettering
Turf Tank