Week #3 of Saucon Valley high school’s football season will continue tonight as the Panthers load the bus for their first away game of the 2019 season and travel to compete against the Palmerton Blue Bombers. After falling to Southern Lehigh on opening night, Saucon Valley (1-1) bounced back to defeat Pen Argyl last week 24-7. On Week 1, the Bombers (1-1) flew into Palisades and flattened the Pirates 47-6 before crashing against Southern Lehigh 27-12 during Week 2. Last year, Saucon Valley hosted the Bombers and came out on top 34-26 in a very physical affair. This contest is shaping up to be another bruising battle. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Things Worth Watching:
When the Panthers have the ball…..
Expect to see Palmerton swarm to the ball and bring a ton of pressure from their base 4-2-5 defense. Certainly more quicker and tougher than they are big, the Blue Bombers defensive linemen barely average 200 pounds. Palmerton will likely crowd eight or nine defenders into the box and challenge Saucon by matching up man-to-man on the Panther receivers. With very good team speed, the Bombers will get after the Panthers by blitzing linebackers up the middle and safeties off the edge.
Offensively, the Panthers will lean on the running of senior Ramel ‘Rah-Rah‘ Moore (#2) and sophomore Damian Garcia (#30). Moore is listed at 6’0″, 205 and is a thundering beast who leads the Panthers with 24 carries. Garcia, a sophomore who measures 5’10, 165, has proven to be an explosive, breakaway threat who is averaging almost 16 yards per carry. In two games, Garcia has touchdown runs of 57, 81 and 82 yards. Chris Mann (#28) from his fullback position is also someone that defenders will have to take note of. Mann, a junior who is listed at 5’9″, 180, usually makes his living as a lead-blocker, but he is quietly averaging 16 yards per carry like Garcia.
Sophomore Dante Mahaffey (#12) will have the job of spreading the ball around from his quarterback position. He is dual-threat and has passed for over 900 yards last season while rushing for 400 more. This year, so far, Mahaffey is 8 of 16 for 148 yards and 2 TD’s throwing. His rushing numbers have been hampered by multiple sacks. The Panther offense has struggled a little bit in the early stages of the season as a result of some protection issues and fumbles. Mahaffey, however has not thrown any interceptions. Moving forward, the Panthers will need to be better and provide Mahaffey with a little more time to throw the ball downfield. Good things tend to happen when the ball is in Mahaffey’s hands.
Freshman Alex Magnotta (#8) leads the Saucon Valley receivers with four receptions for 36 yards and a TD. Last week the Panthers were without their two most experienced receivers in senior Chris Orlemann (#3) and sophomore Ty Csencsits (#11). Both Orlemann and Csencsits will be back in action tonight and both have excellent hands.
Tight end Aiden Renninger (#5) along with sophomore wideouts Anthony Orlemann (#9) and Eternal Aris (#18) will also be counted on to make plays for the Panthers. Renninger, a senior, is nursing a hand injury but still gets the start for Saucon. Aris snagged a Mahaffey ball for a big touchdown in last week’s game against Pen Argyl.
2019 Panther Play-Makers
- QB: #12 So. Dante Mahaffey
- RB: #2 Sr. Ramel Moore, #30 So. Damian Garcia
- FB: #28 Jr. Chris Mann, #34 Fr. Tyler Pfizenmayer
- WR: #3 Sr. Chris Orlemann, #8 Fr. Alex Magnotta, #9 So. Anthony Orlemann, #11 So. Ty Csencsits, #18 So. Eternal ‘E.T.’ Aris
- TE: #5 Sr. Aiden Renninger
The 2019 Hogs are led by seniors Nick Warnke (#77) and Bobby Yovish (#67). Warnke is off to a great start this season while Yovish gets the nod again this week in place of injured senior Evan Deily (#65). Deily, who was a two-way starter on laster year’s 10-3 team, hasn’t played yet this year and still isn’t quite ready yet to jump back into the trenches. Deily is hopeful that he will be back in action next week. In addition to the seniors up-front this week will again be juniors David Osman (#60) and Eli Deily (#76) along with sophomore Cody Swinney (#56). Osman has tons of experience in the trenches while Deily and Swinney will be making their third career start.
The 2019 Hogs: Week 3
- Left Tackle: #77 Sr. Nick Warnke 6’3″, 235
- Left Guard: #60 Jr. David Osman 6’0″, 245
- Center: #56 So. Cody Swinney 5’11”, 250
- Right Guard: #67 Sr. Bobby Yovish 6’0″, 190
- Right Tackle: #76 Jr. Eli Deily 6’4″, 290
When the Blue Bombers have the ball…..
Palmerton runs a shotgun, spread offense that relies on quickness and speed. The Bombers are “Ferrari-fast” and have a nice run-pass mix. They will likely attack the edge of the Panther defense and try to get outside with jet-sweeps and quick passes. Expect to see a lot of motion and shifting to accentuate their quick-strike offense. They will take an occasional shot down the field with a long pass to keep the defense honest. However, most of their dirty work is done short and quick.
Oddly, the Bombers have shown in their two previous games that they are comfortable rotating three different quarterbacks throughout. The biggest Bomber to call the shots has been senior Jordan Nelson (#6). Nelson stands 6’2, 195 and is a Division I football recruit. He is big, fast, physical and multi-talented. It is obvious why schools like Rutgers, Pitt and Delaware are interested in recruiting him. Nelson has completed 7 of 16 attempts for 96 yards so far. He has also caught 5 passes for 56 yards. In addition, Nelson has 109 yards on nine carries. Nelson does it all for the Bombers.
Sophomore Lucas Heydt (#30) and freshman Cole Serfass (#7) will also likely get reps at quarterback against the Panthers. Heydt is listed at 5’9″, 160. He is 9 of 13 for 57 yards throwing the football. Heydt has also carried 15 times for 89 yards. Serfass has completed 5 of 9 passes for 63 yards and rushed ten times for an additional 63 yards. Both Heydt and Serfass can run and throw.
Joining the three-headed quarterback monster on the stat-sheet is senior running back Andrew Sabo (#5) and junior wide receiver Ethan Recker (#8). Sabo is solid at 6’0″, 200 and has carried twelve times for 148 yards. He has also caught three passes for 75 yards. Recker is smaller at 5’6″, 160 but leads all Bomber receivers with six receptions which were good for 56 yards. The Bombers have no shortage of skilled players.
Palmerton, however, lacks the size to maximize the production of their dangerous ball carriers and receivers. The Blue Bombers like to get to the perimeter in a hurry with an assortment of jet sweeps, swing passes and screen passes. But, they don’t really have the size to go smash-mouth. The Bombers have the talent to create big plays, but they have also shown that they can be careless with the ball. Palmerton has thrown four interceptions so far this season.
The Bombers Up-Front
- Tackle #52 Sr. Chris Lucykanish 5’8″, 200
- Guard #78 So. Shade Klotz 6’0″, 195
- Center #51 So. Jeremy Mooney 5’11”, 220
- Guard #50 Jr. Tim Iles 5’10”, 200
- Tackle #76 Jr. Brady Muniz 6’0″, 180
The key matchup will likely be the speed of the Blue Bombers against the perimeter tackling of the Panther defense. If the Saucon Valley defensive ends and outside linebackers can contain the Bomber rushing attack and keep the ball inside of them with consistency then the Palmerton offense will have trouble getting traction. Palmerton has not been very efficient throwing the football, but a few big completions to the dangerous Blue Bomber receivers could ruin the Panthers’ night. Saucon will need to corral the slippery Bomber ball carriers and keep them wrapped-up.
It will be no easy task for the Panthers. This very well could be the quickest and most athletic team that the Panthers have faced so far. Palmerton has a number of talented and dangerous players that play real fast. If the Panther defense gets caught flat-footed and out of position, they could find themselves in some trouble.
- Friday’s Fabulous Football Forecast!:
- Be sure to wear a sweatshirt or bring a jacket. It will be cloudy and cool with temperatures in the lower 60’s. Expect a chilly breeze with a chance of showers.
Good luck Panthers, the Source is with you!