Schuylkill Haven Overwhelms Palmerton in District 11 2A Final
By Brian Ptashinski @BPtashinski on Twitter
POTTSVILLE- Schuylkill Haven blew open a close game at halftime with 35 second half points and cruised to their first District 11 title since 2013. This is the eighth overall district championship with a 42-7 throttling of Palmerton Saturday night at Veterans Memorial Stadium. The win advances the Hurricanes to next week’s matchup with District 12 champion West Catholic out of Philadelphia Saturday at Northern Lehigh. West Catholic defeated Valley Forge Military Academy 58-6 Saturday night.
Schuylkill Haven caught a break early in the contest, as Palmerton fumbled the ball on the opening kickoff. Josh Kalyan pounced on the ball at Blue Bomber 20. It only took one play for the Hurricanes to capitalize on the miscue. Mike Kalyan flashed into the end zone just 13 seconds into the contest.
Defense was the name of the game the rest of the half, as neither team could muster another point as the game went to half with Schuylkill haven leading 7-0.
Palmerton came into the contest with a vaunted passing attack led by quarterback Garrett Pershey, who threw for over 1,700 yards on the season. He was held in check all night as he was sacked six times and threw two interceptions on a night he thew the ball 39 times for 200 yards.
Haven, on the other hand, came in with a strong rushing attack behind Mike Kalyan and QB Danny Lozada, but were limited to 80 yards on the ground in the first half.
The second half was a different story as Lozada, on the second play of the half sprinted in from 73 yards out and extended the lead to 14-0. The Hurricanes also got a huge contribution from freshman RB Kobe Brish, who rushed for 138 yards in the contest. With 1:54 left in the third quarter, Brish busted through the center of the Blue Bomber line on his way to a 34-yard score.
Palmerton(6-6) got their only score of the evening on a 13-yard pass from Pershey to Jordan Nelson to cut the lead to 14-7 at the 7:55 minute mark of the third quarter.
Schuylkill Haven rushed for nearly 320 yards after intermission. With the score at 21-7 heading into the final quarter, the ground game continued to heat up for the Hurricanes as they got scores from Lozada from 61 yards out on the first play of the quarter to open the lead at 28-7. On the Bombers’ first play of the ensuing possession, Pershey’s pass was picked off at the Bomber 30. Preston Gehring scored from 16 yards out to make the score 35-7 with 7:20 left in the game.
Palmerton triedto get on the board again late in the contest but was stymied at the Hurricanes 26. Brish took a handoff, ran around the left side for a 73-yard jaunt, and completed the scoring on the night with 3:38 remaining on the clock.
“We made some adjustments. When we got to the locker room we talked about why we couldn’t get things going in the first half,” said Haven coach Mike Farr. “Once we drew some things up and figured out what was wrong, we got it straightened out and the rest is history.”
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