Big First Half Leads to Big Raider Victory
TAMAQUA – With 75 seconds remaining in the first half, Tamaqua’s kicker, Dustin Vandermartin, watched his extra point go through the uprights. This kick gave Tamaqua a 35-0 lead and activated the mercy rule before halftime. The Blue Raiders are now 9-0 for the first time since 1927 and were out to make a statement as a talented group of seniors played their last game on “The Hill.”
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the home team on Friday night, however. The Battlin’ Miners of Minersville hung tough throughout the first quarter and managed to contain Tamaqua’s explosive offense and stay even at the line of scrimmage. Minersville’s early aggressiveness was used against him as Tamaqua’s Tyler Hope took a screen pass 52 yards to open the scoring midway through the first quarter. On the extra point, Dustin Vandermartin took a direct snap fake to make it 8-0.
The Blue Raiders put it all together in the second half. In just 15 plays, Tamaqua managed to put up 27 points on four scores. It started with 39-yard run by Hope, a 56-yard pass from junior Nate Edmonds to Vandermartin, and two runs from proven playmaker Dalton Nunemacher from 38 and seven yards. On top of the assault, Edmonds’ second touchdown pass of the night had broken the school record for touchown passes in a single season with15.
After the Blue Raider offense put the game out of reach, the defense continued to keep Minersville down. Tyler Krell recorded a 55-yard interception return to put Tamaqua ahead 42-0. Another score was set up when senior noseguard, Nick Hollenbach, who set the record for sacks in a season last week, got his first career interception. On the next play, senior Jake Love raced 30 yards to put his team further ahead 49-0.
Tamaqua’s Nate Edmonds played another perfect game going 5-5 with 133 yards and two touchdowns. The Blue Raider defense cracked down holding Minersville to less than 3 yards per carry and forcing quarterback Nick McBreen to go 0-9 with two interceptions. This win improves Tamaqua’s record to 9-0 with a 7-0 record in the Anthracite League. Minersville drops to 3-6 with a 2-5 league record. The Raiders’ undefeated record sets up a most interesting situation. Next week, Tamaqua travels to Marian Catholic. The Colts are the Raiders biggest rival and the game takes on an even bigger role because whoever wins gets to be the first team in either schools’ history to be the sole winner of the Anthracite Football League.* Minersville closes out their season against 3-6 Panther Valley next week.
*Marian Catholic won a share of the AFL title in 2008 in a three way tie with Jim Thorpe and Shenandoah Valley.
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