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Tigers outlast Palmerton

Sometimes people just have a knack for perfect timing. If you ask the Northwestern Tigers, Joe Colucci is one of those people. Colucci picked a tie game with just over six-minutes left to score his first touchdown of the season as the Tigers downed Palmerton 28-21.

Colucci went 38 yards on a shuttle pass from Dylan Snyder, breaking a couple early tackles to cap off a 66-yard drive for Northwestern that put the Tigers ahead to stay.

“I was glad to see Joe get that touchdown, because he does a lot of the dirty work for us on blocking and opening things up for other guys,” said Northwestern head coach Josh Snyder. “It was nice to see him get one of his own.”

Northwestern scored on back-to-back drives to come from behind to beat the Blue Bombers. On the drive prior to Colucci’s heroics, the Tigers easily marched 48 yards, with Harry Hall picking up all the yardage, including a 28-yard jaunt into the end zone.

“They were really good on both sides of the ball tonight,” said center/defensive end Andrew Sorensen of Palmerton’s big, physical line. “They were without their big center tonight and fortunately for us, we were able to hand it to Harry and he was able to do what he does.”

While the win keeps the Tigers (6-2) in the driver’s seat for the District 11 Class AA playoffs, Snyder admitted that it wasn’t his team’s best performance of the season, but he was pleased with how they found a way to win.

“It wasn’t our best game, but I told our guys that the last three weeks of the season are where the champions come out to play,” said head coach Josh Snyder. “I have to give a lot of credit to Chris [Palmerton coach Chris Walkowiak] and his staff. They really kept us off balance and they got a couple of plays off of us.”

With the score 7-7 at the half, the Tigers went three-and-out on their first drive of the third quarter.

Blue Bombers’ running back Mike Stasko was handed the ball on the first play of the drive and ran 69 yards to put Palmerton up 14-7. Stasko’s touchdown accounted for the first points that the Tigers have allowed all season in the third quarter.

On the next drive for Northwestern, quarterback Dylan Snyder hit Trevor Cunningham on a second-and-11 play for a first down and then five plays later, had a 20-yard run of his own to keep the drive going. Harry Hall’s 11-yard touchdown run capped the drive and again knotted the score, this time 14-14.

Palmerton brought the momentum back to its side with an impressive 14-play drive, covering 69 yards. Quarterback Garrett Perschy hit two key pass plays on the drive and Mike Stasko barreled for a three-yard touchdown run to put Palmerton up 21-14 with 11:14 to play in the game.

“At that point, we knew we needed to come right back at them,” said Snyder. “Our guys made plays and did enough to win. They really had to gut it out, because those guys weren’t going away. They played us hard every second.”

While Palmerton had a key injury on its line, the Tigers were also without Chet Karpyn, who is out with an injury. While Sorensen pointed out how tough the Palmerton line was, he also noted that the Tigers have been able to find capable players to fill in for Karpyn.

“As tough as they were, I thought Evan Scholler did a nice job on defense and Andrew Seyler helped on the offensive line,” said Sorensen. “It’s nice to be able to grab a couple guys like that when someone goes down and put them into the lineup. They’ve both done really well.”

Northwestern travels to Northern Lehigh for its annual rivalry game with the Bulldogs, before returning home for their regular season finale against Catasauqua on November 6.

PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZDylan Snyder looks downfield as he rolls out of the pocket against Palmerton.