Big games and Salisbury football are words that haven't been used together very often in recent years.
With just four total victories in the four previous seasons, it has been a long time since the Falcons played a meaningful late season game.
But on Friday night in Slatington, Salisbury found itself in that situation.
Two of the younger players on the Salisbury girls' tennis team put together one of the better runs in recent history at the district level in last week's District 11 Class AA Doubles Tournament.
Sophomores Leandra Roelker and Claudia Crouthamel won both of their matches last Wednesday at Parkland High School to advance to Thursday's quarterfinals round. And despite coming up short against Central Catholic's Marina Zardet and Sabrina Elward (6-2, 6-2), the duo impressed many considering they only played doubles together once all season.
There was a point in the season where it looked as if the Salisbury boys soccer team was on track to earn a Colonial League playoff spot. The Falcons were 5-2-1 in league play heading into a pivotal meeting against Moravian Academy nearly two weeks ago.
And while there was still a slight chance of earning that berth prior to last week's season finale against Southern Lehigh, the Falcons needed a win and some help throughout the league. But a .500 record over their final four games, including last Wednesday's 3-2 loss to the Spartans at Salisbury High School, ended those hopes.
It may have been Salisbury's worst loss of the season, but Friday's 47-15 defeat to unbeaten Northwestern brought to light a number of positives.
Head coach Andy Cerco's team battled for the entire game; the Falcons found themselves within two touchdowns at halftime, although a number of dropped touchdowns should have made that score even closer. And according to Cerco, it was the first time since he took over that "we played a very physical game."
It was their night, and they took control of it early. Four seniors scored the first five goals on senior night Monday night of a 6-0 win over Northern Lehigh.
Ben Heydt, Danny Walters, Connor Wagner, and Brett Spencer all connected in their final home game as Salisbury Falcons. Freshman Patrick Adams added the final goal midway through the second half.
Five different players scoring is something that excites head coach Mark Allinson, showing the depth he can use at his disposal.
With one golfer from the Lehigh Valley withdrawing from Monday's District 11 Golf Championships, another had the opportunity to compete in the tournament after missing the cut from last week's qualifiying round.
That player turned out to be Salisbury's Kody Long.
Joining Long was Jack Bonge, who earned a spot in districts with a 95 at the qualifying round, the last score to make the cut. And while the two would have liked to have shoot better rounds, the Falcons' duo had an opportunity to taste district golf competition on Monday at Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort.
Salisbury's Kyle Gonoude was the Falcons' top finisher in Saturday's Paul Short Run at Lehigh University's Goodman Campus. His time of 16:11 in the 5,000 meter run stationed him in third place of 312 participants, and just 21 seconds behind Mercersburg Academy's Gabriel Allgayer for first place.
The Falcons' Greg Fry (18:05) and Joseph Fainor (18:09) placed 98th and 106th, respectively, to round out the Falcons' top three boys runners. Pete DuBois (19:53) placed 250th, while Cole Warmkessel ran a 20:35 for 283rd place.
With the division schedule heating up, Salisbury will look to bounce back from last week's loss to Northwestern with a matchup against Northern Lehigh (4-2).
The Bulldogs, who have won three of their last four games, are coming off a loss last week against Catasauqua, 25-23. The Falcons and Bulldogs are separated by just a game in the standings in the more competitive West Division, as no team currently sits below .500. On the other side, four of the six East Division teams have losing records.
When Salisbury visited Northwestern two weeks ago, the Falcons scored in the opening two minutes. The Tigers, however, responded with two consecutive goals secure the win.
With the rematch set for last week, there was a little bit of déjà vu evident from the Falcons' side.
It may not have been as quick of a score, but a goal by Ethan Heydt in the opening six minutes gave the Falcons another early lead. They wouldn't squander the advantage this time around though.
Tevon Weber didn't have many mistakes in another stellar performance on Friday night against Pen Argyl.
But an interception just before halftime halted a potential Falcon scoring drive, and gave the Green Knights possession with under two minutes to play looking to break a 14-14 tie.