Tamaqua hosted an Annville-Cleona team who was searching for the first win.
Their desparation showed as they moved the ball well against a Blue Raider defense which seemed to have some trouble stopping the run.
However, Tamaqua was able to utilize its run game more efficiently and pull off the victory on homecoming night, 43-34.
Tamaqua's Dustin Vandermartin suffered an injury third quarter. Vandermartin was taken to the hospital for x-rays and his status remains unknown.
His presence was felt on both sides of the ball up until his exit.
Tamaqua's first possession was inside the Dutchmen redzone. This was thanks to a Vandermartin punt retun of 30 plus yards and a Dutchmen face-mask penalty. Ernie Shilko scored on a run up the middle on Tamaqua's second play to start the scoring frenzy.
Annville-Cleona used some trickery late in the first quarter and perfeclty executed a fake punt against a surprised Tamaqua defense.
Paxson Hayes took the snap and ran the ball 28 ards into Blue Raider terriroty. This set up Quentin Hall's first touchdown of the evening of seventeen yards.
During the next Tamaqua drive, head coach Sam Bonner took a timeout on second and long. He drew up a pass play on the sideline which Vandermartin ended up being on the 59 yard receiving end of from quarterback Nate Edmonds.
Quentin Hall ripped off a 47 yard touchdown on the ground during the next series.
Both teams had productive nights on the ground. Tamaqua racked up 283 rushing yards, as Annville-Cleona had 231 of their own.
Bonner seemed pleased with the way his offensive line played.
"I thought we moved the ball pretty well on the ground. I thought we did especailly toward the end of the game when we had to grind it out and pick up some key first downs," said Bonner.
The score at halftime was 21-14, with Tamaqua in the lead.
The second half went back and forth for quite some time. Tyler Hope of Tamaqua had a great evening and was a huge factor in the Blue Raider victory. With his friend and teammate taken out of the game because of injury, he knew he had to step up.
A 55-yard screen pass from Edmonds to Skripko late in the third quarter helped set up a Hope 13-yard touchdown reception.
Annville Cleona led 28-27 at this point.
After a Dutchmen three and out, Hope added another touchdown for Tamaqua.
"Hope and Vandermartin are two exceptional athletes. Tyler showed a ton of guts tonight and made some big plays," Bonner said.
Annville-Cleona found more success on the ground in the second half. Dutchmen quarterback Zach Southall racked up 105 yards on the ground.
However, the Tamaqua ground game was able to grind out a drive of five and a half minutes late in the fourth quarter to shut the door on the Dutchmen.
"After Dustin went out coach said we needed to pick it up as a team. Dustin is a great player and he can stretch the field. ." Tyler Hope said.
Hope credited Tyler Andrews and Aaron Rega for filling in on the offensive line and playing well.
"They're both sophomores and they stepped in and blocked like champs," he said.