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Palmerton completes first 10-0 regular season in school history; Matt Machalik makes state history

There is very little Palmerton quarterback Matt Machalik can say he has not accomplished in his storied four-year career. Finishing the season with bragging rights over the Blue Bombers’ Blue Mountain rival, Northern Lehigh, was still on that list heading into Friday’s contest.

He can cross it off now.

Despite winning his first start against the Bulldogs in 2020, Machalik and the Blue Bombers lost the rematch two weeks later in the District 11 2A playoffs and fell to their rivals three times in the next two seasons to keep the Battle of Blue Mountain trophy in Slatington.

Machalik would not be denied Friday night, compiling 244 total yards for the Blue Bombers, 176 on the ground and 68 through the air, and four total touchdowns in a 47-13 win over the host Bulldogs in a Colonial/Schuylkill League Red Division matchup.

“I wouldn’t be able to do anything without my team,” Machalik said. “They’re a great group of guys and we’re just clicking. We’ve been like that since our junior high days. It’s really showing out there on Friday nights.”

The Lehigh commit, who owns just about every record in the school’s history, achieved something that no other player has before in Pennsylvania high school football history. With a 77-yard touchdown run to open the scoring in the game, Machalik reached 5,000 yards as a passer and a runner in his career.

“You think of Pennsylvania’s history of football and how big it is and how long it’s gone, it’s just a credit of what [Machalik] brings to the table each and every week,” Palmerton coach Chris Walkowiak said. “There’s not a better person … I’m so happy for him and what he’s done.”

According to Northern Lehigh coach Joe Tout, who is in his 18th year coaching the Bulldogs, the stats more than back up the eye test.

“You have DJ Lenehan years ago from Wilson, Dylan Evans from Pen Argyl in 2012, but Matt Machalik is the best player I’ve coached against in this league,” Tout said.

“You eliminate him, it’s a very even matchup [in this game]. You add him, it’s a mercy rule.”

The win gave Palmerton its first undefeated regular season since 1951 and the first 10-0 regular season in the school’s history.

“That’s a credit to the kids and what they did. The best thing about this team is their chemistry. They’ve been tight all year long,” Walkowiak said. “I’m thrilled for them. I’m thrilled for this program and I’m thrilled for the school and the community.”

The Bulldogs celebrated a special group of seniors who were part of two district championships and another runner-up finish throughout their four years with the program.

“They were big components the last two years,” Tout said. “They won the last two district championships. We had several guys that were big parts of that. The wins and losses fade. The fun memories in the locker room will stick with them.”

Senior running back Jack Tosh was a crucial part of those championship teams and was able to find the end zone on his senior night to go with 47 rushing yards on nine carries.

Sophomore running back Kaden Quinones provided a spark late with a pair of carries, including his first career touchdown on a 7-yard run.

“Our younger guys will rebound. We’re going to be pretty good the next few years,” Tout said.

Up next

Palmerton (10-0) advances to the District 11 3A playoffs to host an opponent still to be determined on Friday, Nov. 3, or Saturday, Nov. 4. Northern Lehigh (3-7) did not qualify for the District 11 1A playoffs for the first time since 2019.

Derek Bast is a freelance writer who can be found on Twitter/X at @derek_bast. He can be reached by email at derekbast11@gmail.com. 


Palmerton: 14; 20; 13; 0 — 47 
Northern Lehigh: 0; 0; 0; 13 — 13 

First quarter 
PAL: Matt Machalik 77 run (2-pt conversion failed), 5:03
PAL: SAFETY; Aborted snap recovered in endzone, 1:38
PAL: Ty Sander 1 run (2-pt conversion failed), 0:00
Second quarter 
PAL: Machalik 11 pass to Jameson Trainer (Machalik 2-pt run), 8:41
PAL: Sander 4 run (2-pt conversion failed), 5:55
PAL: Machalik 1 run (Jacob Walkowiak kick failed), 3:05
Third quarter
PAL: Machalik 50 run (2-pt conversion failed), 11:15
PAL: Caleb Sagastume 3 run (Walkowiak kick), 0:10
Fourth quarter 
NL: Jack Tosh 2 run (Anthony Hannah kick), 9:35
NL: Kaden Quinones 7 run (2-pt conversion failed), 3:35

First downs; 12; 6
Rushes-yards; 34-348; 37-209
Passing yards; 96; 8
Comp-Att-INTs; 6-12-0; 2-12-1
Punts; 3-40; 4-37.3
Fumbles-lost; 3-1; 2-1
Penalties-yards; 3-30; 5-42

Rushing: (PAL) Matt Machalik 8-176, 3 TDs; Ty Sander 6-39, 2 TDs; Vincent Taglieri 3-56; Brayden Hosier 3-42; Emilio Gonzalez 4-31; Jameson Trainer 3-6; Caleb Sagastume 5-4, 1 TD; Jacob Walkowiak 2-(-6) (NL) Grady Newhard 16-94; Jack Tosh 9-47, 1 TD; Noah Gosart 2-17; Kaden Quinones 2-8, 1 TD; Chris Frame 1-8; Bailey Smith 2-3; Isaac Raber 1-2; Garrett Smoyer 3-(-10); TEAM 1-(-16).

Passing: (PAL) Machalik 4-10-0, 68 yards, 1 TD; Trainer 2-2-0, 28 yards (NL) Smoyer 2-10-1, 8 yards; Tosh 0-1-0; Frame 0-1-0.

Receiving: (PAL) Trainer 2-41, 1 TD; Gonzalez 1-26; Sander 1-21; Alex Keiper 1-6; Hosier 1-2; (NL) Smith 1-5; Tosh 1-3.

https://www.mcall.com/2023/10/28/palmerton-completes-first-10-0-regular-season-in-school-history-matt-machalik-makes-state-history/ Palmerton completes first 10-0 regular season in school history; Matt Machalik makes state history

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