Raiders Rebound vs. Canaries

Written by: on Sunday, September 8th, 2013. Follow Austin Miorelli on Twitter.


ALLENTOWN- Following a difficult to explain loss against Jim Thorpe on opening night, Tamaqua Area answers critics with a hard-fought 21-0 victory over the William Allen Canaries. The game marked the return of Dustin Vandermartin to the Blue Raider offense. The senior standout recorded two catches for 95 yards and two touchdowns. Including a 75 yard bomb to put the game away with just over six minutes to go in the fourth quarter.

The Canaries would not take a beating lying down. With four minutes to go in the first quarter, Tamaqua QB, Nate Edmonds, threw an interception to Allen’s Courtney Watson who returned it down inside the 10-yard line of the visitors. A stout defense answered the call on the goal line as junior safety Ernie Shilko came up with a pick in the endzone to take the ball away from the threatening Canaries. The junior was forced to take over a quarterback for the Raiders on the next drive. However, Tamaqua couldn’t get the drive going and Watson was able to come up with his second interception at midfield. Mistakes haunted both teams throughout the night. Unitl, Tamaqua’s hard-nosed running duo of Shilko and sophomore, Collin “Bud” Moyer took their team into the redzone for the first time of the game. Edmonds wasted no time in finding Vandermartin for a 20 yard strike to give the Raiders a 7-0 lead at the break.

The Canaries were starting to look fatigued as the Blue Raiders came out of the half on fire by forcing a fast 3-and-out and their big offensive line of Dylan VanBuskirk (6’6″ 255lbs.), Nick Coccio (5’9″ 205lbs.), Devon Murphy (5’9″ 257lbs.), Cody Houser (6’0″ 370lbs.), and Tyler Andrews (5’11” 263lbs.) from left to right, pounded the ball down the throats of their opponent to open a hole for Shilko’s 33-yard TD run.

The Blue Raiders conditioning showed tonight as they were able to hold onto the ball to run the clock out against the fatigued Canaries. It was certainly not a picture perfect victory as turnovers are the eye-catcher of the stat sheet. Victorious Tamaqua tossed up two interceptions and coughed up four fumbles; The Canaries, had three interceptions with three fumbles, for a grand total of 12 turnovers.

The win gives the Blue Raiders a 1-1 record, but still sit 0-1 in the AFL after this non-league victory. Next week, they will return home to face the Shenandoah Valley Blue Devils in their return to Anthracite Football League play. The Canaries drop to 0-2. This Friday, they open their Mountain Valley Conference schedule against the Timberwolves of East Stroudsburg North.

In next week’s game, Blue Raider Head Coach Sam Bonner will be trying for his 40th victory as head coach at Tamaqua. Also, it will mark another Hall of Fame induction atop Stadium Hill.

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