By Tyler Trumbauer
“We are not prisoners of the past.”
That is the mantra of the 2013 Palmerton football team that is trying to forget what was a dismal 2012 season that ended with the Blue Bombers having a 0-10 mark.
Third year head coach Chris Walkowiak is making sure that everyone associated with his program knows that they will not get trapped in 2012. Throughout their locker rooms there are posters prominently displayed that state their mantra. Also, when asked about last fall, Walkowiak wouldn’t revisit it.
“We are not prisoners of the past. We are moving forward. Last year was an opportunity to learn from mistakes. Just like anything in life you will make mistakes and we are picking ourselves up and moving on.”
One positive coming from last season is that most of the players are coming back from 2012. Walkowiak said in his office Monday afternoon that every year teams have to deal with losing players to graduation, but he has a lot of players returning with experience. However, one big loss for Palmerton is John Snyder, who was a 1st team All-League member in 2012. Walkowiak describes him as, “a player that one cannot just replace.”
There are a lot of new Blue Bombers for 2013 though. A few of note are freshman Mike Staskow, juniors Isaac George and Nick Sander and seniors Austin Cook, Derrick Rodriguez, Sean Dougherty.
Walkowiak is hoping that the mix of experienced returners and the aforementioned newcomers will successfully improve their three weaknesses from last season.
“We want to improve on a few things,” Walkowiak said, who owns a 4-16 career record. “We want to execute third down conversions and turnovers. We had 30 turnovers last year and we want to keep the ball. We also want to work on explosive plays. We want more big plays for touchdowns. We also don’t want to give up explosive plays. There were many games last season where it was close, but a few big plays changed the whole game. Those are three things that have been preached since day one this season.”
Another weakness that Walkowiak admitted is that the offensive line needs a lot of work. Most of the seniors on last year’s team were on the offensive line. This young core needs experience and needs to do some maturing, according to Walkowiak.
Bringing a 0-10 record with a lot of returners from that season into 2013 may seem like a mediocre year is on the horizon, but the Blue Bombers are setting their goals high.
“This may seem crazy, but we expect to win. Our goals are the same every year. Last year we wanted to have a winning season and make playoffs and we want to do the same this year. We kind of think, ‘why not us?’ We aren’t just going to settle for two, three, or four wins. We want to learn from history, not repeat it.”
Palmerton plans to keep pounding the rock on the ground and complimenting that running game with an improved passing attack that the Blue Bombers hope will propel them in to the postseason.