Tamaqua Lights Up Blue Mountain, Improves to 5-0
by Matt Freiler, Schuylkill League Reporter
As Nate Boyle powered in for his fifth touchdown of the night with under a minute left in the game, the celebration began. Sam Bonner’s Tamaqua Blue Raiders defeated Blue Mountain 48-28 in front of an energized home crowd, improving to 5-0 in the opening week of Schuylkill League play. It was the Raiders’ first win over the Eagles since 2004. Blue Mountain had no answer for Tamaqua’s tandem of tailbacks all night. Senior Nick Breiner and sophomore Nate Boyle combined for over 300 rushing yards and seven touchdowns in a dominating performance.
Things didn’t start out as planned for Tamaqua, as quarterback Thad Zuber was intercepted by Blue Mountain’s Jason Dean on the Raiders’ first drive. The defense did not allow the Eagles to capitalize on the turnover, forcing a three-and-out.
Breiner got the Raiders on the board with a five-yard touchdown scamper around seven minutes to go in the first quarter. On the ensuing kickoff, Blue Mountain’s Chase Sincavage broke off an 88-yard return that set the Eagles up in the red zone. Ben Kramer plowed in for the touchdown, tying the game at seven mid-way through the first.
Tamaqua answered right back, as Breiner found a seam and raced 58 yards for his second touchdown of the opening quarter. However, the extra point was missed, and Tamaqua led 13-7 with four minutes to go in the first.
The turning point of the game came on the ensuing kickoff. Tamaqua attempted a squib kick, which they ended up recovering after a Blue Mountain muff.
The Raiders turned the opportunity into points, as Zuber found tight end Casey Rother for a 61-yard score. The long catch and run gave Tamaqua a 21-7 lead at the end of the first.
Blue Mountain got things going midway through the second quarter, as Chip Umbenhaur scored from nine yards out. The Eagles came within one score, down 21-14.
With the ball back and looking to tie the game, Blue Mountain quarterback David Krewson was intercepted by Braden Knoblauch along the sideline. Tamaqua capitalized yet again, when Nate Boyle found the end zone from 21 yards out, giving the Radiers a 28-14 edge at the half.
The longest touchdown of the night came on Tamaqua’s first drive of the second half, when Knoblauch found Boyle for a 63-yard deep ball. The raucous home crowd roared with excitement, as the Raiders led 35-14.
Down three scores, coach Cory Mabry’s Eagles never quit. After a quick Sincavage touchdown, Blue Mountain found themselves driving deep into Tamaqua territory trailing 35-21 near the end of the third quarter.
Again, the Raider defense came up clutch as Boyle made an acrobatic one-handed interception, stalling the Eagles’ drive and crushing the momentum.
Capitalizing on opportunities created by the defense and special teams was the story of the game for the Raiders, as they went up 42-21 on another Boyle touchdown run with six minutes to play.
Blue Mountain dropped to 1-4 on the season, and will host 5-0 Jim Thorpe next week. Tamaqua will travel to Pottsville for a massive league game.
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