It's fair to say that it has been an up and down year for the Tamaqua Blue Raiders (3-4, 3-2 Anthracite) this season. Although the Raiders haven't been consistent as a whole this season there is no doubt that Tamaqua running back Jarred Muffley has been. The Raiders' back ran right through the eye of the hurricane last week pounding Schuylkill Haven for 272 yards on the ground and three scores to earn the week seven TIMES NEWS Player of the Week.
Muffley (148-847-5.72) has been racking up the yards this season for the Raiders ranking second by only three yards in the TIMES NEWS area behind Marian's Paul Martin. The Tamaqua work horse credits his success to his off-season regiment and a little inspiration from up above.
"I really worked my tail off this summer to get ready," said Muffley. "Four years ago my brother passed away and he never got to play his senior year. A lot of the work I put in during the off-season and the success I've had running the football is for him."
Muffley certainly showed his ability to run the football against Schuylkill Haven averaging 10.1 yards everytime he touched the ball. Muffley also showed that he can run the ball in clutch moments on the field putting the nail in the Haven coffin last week with a 17-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Tamaqua Head Coach Sam Bonner is proud to have a kid like Muffley leading his team week in and week out.
"Coming in as a senior this season he really stepped it up," said Bonner. "He's a quiet kid, but he's one of those kids who takes pride in leading by example. Jarred is a tough player and he comes ready to play every Friday night."
Most would say the Tamaqua offensive line isn't the biggest bunch of guys, but Muffley explains that size isn't everything.
"Our offensive line might lack size but they're still a good line," added Muffley "Obviously, I wouldn't be able to run the football like I do if they weren't doing a good job. They get low every play and last week they were definitely opening some nice holes for me."
Good running backs do not grow on trees and Muffley has been playing the game of football since he was young. Whether it's cheering on the Steelers every Sunday, putting in the extra work in the weightroom, or just thinking back to his pee-wee days, Muffley knows that this sport has had a profound impact on his life.
"I've been all about football for as long as I can remember," said Muffley. "I've always loved running the football, but believe it or not I love watching as much as I do playing. I especially love to watch the free safety position. I think it's great how they fly around the field and make big hits."
When all is said and done Jarred wants to make sure he honors his brother's memory with continued success this season.
"There is no doubt that I am playing for my brother this season," said Muffley. "I want to make sure that I match his competitiveness and the determination that he played with. This whole experience has been a definite life-changer for me and I just want to get out there and help my football team win our final three games."