MINERSVILLE - Minersville showed once again it is a team to be reckoned with in District 11 single A competition this year. Unfortunately, for the Tamaqua Blue Raiders, they were just another victim on the Miners road to the playoffs. Minersville ran through and around the Raiders for a 33-20 Anthracite league victory.
The first quarter was tight between the run first squads, but it was the Miners that struck first blood. Minersville running back Billy Powanda scored from 13 yards out after Cole Weachock brought the ball all the way into scoring territory after a 45-yard burst up the middle of the Raiders defense.
The Raiders had trouble getting things going early in the first going three and out on their first two possessions, but then completed a nine play drive late in the fourth with a one- yard touchdown run by Jarred Muffley. The Raiders missed the extra point however and headed into the second quarter down one trailing the Miners 7-6.
"It was a hard fought game in the trenches tonight," said Tamaqua Head Coach Sam Bonner. "There was a lot hitting going on and our kids did a good job of fighting the entire game."
The second quarter proved to be the difference in the ball game with Minersville outscoring Tamaqua 12-0 in the frame on two big plays by Powanda and Weachock. Powanda and Weachock scored on runs of 46 and 32 yards both after receiving contact from Tamaqua defenders.
"I am a little disappointed in the way we tackled tonight," added Bonner. "We focused on gang tackling all week in practice and we knew they could hurt us if we didn't wrap up."
The injury bug bit the Raiders in the second half with Tamaqua work horse back Jarred Muffley sidelined due to hamstring issue and Raiders' quarterback Matt Delborello also not returning for the second half.
With the injury to Delborello, Bonner had to call on freshman quarterback Brett Kosciolek. Kosciolek, who was picked off right before the half and twice in the second, did a good job of moving the Raiders up and down the field in the third and fourth quarter.
"Brett did a good job for just coming into the game cold like that," said Bonner. "He has a good arm and will be a good player in the year's to come."
The story of the game however was the terrific play of Miners' Billy Powanda and Cole Weachock. The dynamic duo combined for 304 yards rushing and five touchdowns. The Raiders weren't the only team this season that couldn't stop the Minersville tandem, with both players eclipsing the 1,000-yard mark in the game. Weachock rushed for a thousand in style scoring from 24 yards to pass the mark.
Even with the loss Tamaqua still has a shot to qualify for Eastern Conference, with rival Marian on the schedule for Friday night.
"Were looking forward to playing Marian on Friday night," said Bonner. We want to extend our season and end the year on a good note."