Following an outstanding senior season, Saline High School quarterback Tyler Palka now has a chance to play Division I college football in the Big Ten Conference.
Indiana University has offered the 6-foot, 180-pound senior a spot as a preferred walk-on next fall. A preferred walk-on is promised a roster spot, but is not offered a scholarship.
Saginaw Valley State University, which plays in Division II college football, has offered him a full scholarship.
Palka said he has not set a timetable as to when he will choose a school.
In 2012 he helped lead the Hornets (10-2) to the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 1 regional final. Along the way he threw for 1923 yards, tossed 15 touchdown passes and completed more than 65 percent of his passing attempts. He also carried the ball regularly, gaining 822 rushing yards and running for six touchdowns.
This was Palka’s first season with the Hornets, as he came along with his father Joe Palka, who was hired last December as Saline’s assistant principal and head football coach.
Prior to coming to Saline, his father served as the head coach at Toledo Whitmer, which is a perennial football powerhouse in Ohio. Palka played quarterback for the Panthers, under his father, and helped lead the 2011 team to a 14-1 record and a trip to the state final game.
Helping him achieve so much in Saline this year, Palka said, was a new group of teammates, classmates and neighbors who all quickly accepted and supported him.
“I really enjoyed playing here and wouldn't trade it for anything,” he said. “The community, and the kids, seemed very welcoming to me throughout the whole year, which made it even more of a success.”
The Hornets finished the regular season 8-1, with their only blemish being a 7-6 defeat against Ann Arbor Pioneer.
Saline got revenge in the second round of the playoffs, however, beating the Pioneers 31-17 and claiming the district title.
In the third round of the postseason, the Hornets fell just short of a regional crown, losing 21-14 to Cass Tech, which won its second consecutive state title two weeks later.
Following the season, Palka received the following honors:
Media Outlet 2012 Honor AnnArbor.com Washtenaw County Player of the Year Associated Press Division 1-2 All State Special Mention Detroit Free Press Division 1-2 All State Honorable Mention Detroit News Division 1-2 All State Honorable Mention