Northwestern Press

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Payton Bachman excelled in three sports - football, baseball and basketball. Payton Bachman excelled in three sports - football, baseball and basketball.

Bachman excelled in all three sports

Thursday, August 2, 2012 by MIKE HAINES mhainestnonline.com in HS Sports

For the past three years Payton Bachman has been a fixture not only on his three sports teams, but also around any Northwestern gyms and athletic fields.

When he doesn't have a game or practice, he's probably with friends cheering on another Tiger team. Last year he was one of the school's top athletes and biggest fans, now he's one of it's most proud alumni.

"If I had a choice I'd go back to Northwestern next year," he said. "I made so many friends through middle school and high school."

Bachman, who excelled in three sports for the past three years, is the Northwestern Press Athlete of the Year for the 2011-12 school year.

Bachman has been part of the Tigers' varsity football, baseball and basketball teams since his sophomore year. This year he became a leader on all three teams.

He was also one of the most productive players on all three teams.

In football, he was the only Tiger player to earn First Team All Colonial League on both sides of the ball, earning recognition as a wide receiver and defensive back.

He played both running back and receiver, carrying the ball 66 times for 259 yards and three touchdowns and catching 35 passes for 568 yards and seven scores. He also scored one touchdown on defense (a 35-yard fumble recovery vs. Palisades) and one on special teams (an 85-yard kick off return vs. Saucon Valley).

"I had a pretty good season," Bachman said. "I wish we could have won a couple more games."

The Tigers went 5-5 after a 4-1 start to the season.

Bachman completed his third year of varsity football and second as a two-way starter. His football career began in the Northwestern Youth Association when he signed up for the flag team about 13 years ago. He'll have his first college football practice at Wilkes University in just a few weeks.

After his last high school football season Bachman could have easily chose to sit out his senior basketball season.

The Tigers were a rebuilding basketball program that was coming off a one-win season and a winless league campaign in 2010-11.

Instead of resting up for baseball season, Bachman chose to stick with basketball. As a second-year starting guard, he took on a new role in his senior year.

"I stepped up as a leader this year," he said. "I didn't score a lot, but I contributed in other ways."

Taking off the basketball season wasn't something that crossed his mind. He wanted to help the program rebuild. While the team won just two games, the program made strides and Bachman played a part in the rebuilding process.

"I really like the new coach," Bachman said of Dan Eddinger. "Even though we didn't win many games, it was still a fun season."

He moved on to baseball season where the Tigers had high expectations. Most of the line up was returning from a team that had an explosive offense in 2011. As the leadoff hitter, Bachman was a catalyst. He could be counted on to get on base and spark the offense every time he came to the plate.

A speedy runner once clocked at 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash, Bachman was one of the league's most dangerous base runners. He was among the team leaders in several offensive categories and earned his second consecutive spot on the All Colonial League Second Team as a centerfielder.

"I had an all right season," Bachman said. "I led the team in some statistics, but that doesn't matter to me as much as winning games.

"I expected more from myself and my team. We didn't play as well as we expected to."

The Tigers went 9-7 in league play, missing the playoffs by two games. They made districts, but lost in the first round, ending Bachman's high school career and possibly his baseball career.

While he plans to play football at Wilkes, he will consider walking on to the baseball team after his first semester. His priorities are in order.

"It depends how school goes," Bachman said. "I want to do well in school first, then I'll think about baseball."

While his days in a Northwestern uniform are over, Bachman will surely be back on campus during college breaks, cheering on the Tigers as he has for so many years.

He's contributed so much to all the of the programs he's played for, it's hard for him to believe high school has gone by so quickly.

"I don't think it's sunk in yet," Bachman said.

When it does sink in, he'll have plenty of fond memories to take with him from his high school career.