Blue Raiders Keep on Rolling to 7-0
TAMAQUA – After last weeks statement win over North Schuylkill, some questioned if undefeated Tamaqua could avoid a letdown against upset-minded Schuylkill Haven. The Blue Raiders’ all-around threat Dalton Nunemacher wasn’t about to let that happen as he took the Hurricanes first punt 41 yards to open the scoring at 7-0. The quick score was only the beginning of a long night for the visiting team.
Both teams loved to pound the ball up the middle, but Tamaqua has proven that they can really throw the ball. Following a blocked punt, junior quarterback Nate Edmonds hooked up with his big 6’3″ senior receiver Tyler Krell for a 24 yard score to give the Raiders a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter. Tamaqua’s defense played lights out throughout the first half and kept the young Schuylkill Haven offense out of the endzone. Offensively, the Raiders finished the first half on a high note when Nunemacher ran a reverse 40 yards for a score to put his team up 20-0 going into halftime. Tamaqua’s ability to control the line of scrimmage was truly impressive because center, Devon Murphy, was out with an injury and right guard, Brandon Fogel was unable to play due to illness. Seniors Austin Resch and Luke Matsago stepped in at guard and center respectively and fullback, Trevor Skripko was moved to tackle.
The home team’s high-octane offensive started to cool down in the second half, but not before Edmonds hooked up with Nunemacher for a 55 yard bomb and Dustin Vandermartin’s extra point made it 27-0 in the third quarter. Late in third quarter to early in the fourth, Schuylkill Haven was able to put together a 12-play, 71-yard drive that ate up seven minutes of clock to finally get on the board and cut the Raider lead to 27-6. After a valiant defensive stand by the battered Hurricanes were able to regain possession and get back into scoring territory before being forced to turn the ball over on downs. With the ball late in the fourth, Tamaqua was able to grind out the clock and come away with the win.
The Raiders are off to their best start since 1956 and only the fourth 7-0 start in school history. Talk has begun in Tamaqua of the Raiders finishing 10-0. If the team was to accomplish the feat, it would be the second undefeated, untied ever in the little coal town and the first since 1927. Before 10-0, however, the Blue Raiders will have to make it 8-0 as they take on rival Panther Valley on homecoming night. Schuylkill Haven falls to 3-4 on the year with a 3-3 record in the Anthracite Football League. Next week, the Hurricanes return home to face the Olympians of Jim Thorpe.
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