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Raiders still perfect

Published October 05. 2009 02:55PM

And then there was one!

Tamaqua is the lone remaining undefeated team in the TIMES NEWS coverage area.

Northwestern's loss to Wilson on Friday night eliminated it from the ranks of the unbeaten.

In this week's OVERTIME lead we'll discus why the Blue Raiders are still perfect through three weeks of the season.

OVERTIME will also look at a productive Bulldog back, a versatile Bear, a long distance hookup by the Tigers, and several other interesting area football facts.


When Sam Bonner took over as Tamaqua's head football coach prior to the 2007 season, he knew the level he wanted the Raiders' program to reach. He just didn't know how long it would take to get there.

Just three games into his third season at the helm, Bonner received another indication on Friday night that Tamaqua is on the right track.

The Raiders trailed Shenandoah 10-7 heading into the fourth quarter of play. But thanks to big plays on both sides of the ball during the final 12 minutes, Tamaqua rallied for a 21-10 victory.

Since 2001, the Raiders had been 1-40 when trailing after three quarters. The only other time during that span they trailed heading into the fourth quarter and won was Oct. 21, 2005 when Panther Valley led 19-14 but Tamaqua won 20-19.

The ability to come-from-behind with the game on the line is one of those steps a program makes on the road to establishing itself.

"We stressed to our kids all the time to never quit on a play and never quit on a game," said Bonner. "The last two weeks are perfect examples of how are players are doing that.

"Last week, Anthony Bumbulsky chased a Lehighton player from behind and knocked the ball out of his arms just before he crossed the goal line. This week, our kids fought back and made the plays in the fourth quarter to pull out the win. I think it shows that our kids our developing that never quit mentality."

Another sign of a team and a program that is headed in the right direction is the ability to win close games something the Raiders have done in all three games this season.

"We're far from being where we eventually want our program to be," said Bonner. "But I like the things I'm seeing. Things like winning close games and coming from behind to win games are what good programs do."

Tamaqua's 3-0 start is the school's first since 1985. The last team a Blue Raider team began a season with fourth straight wins was 1962. That year it finished 10-0-1 and won the Eastern Conference championship. Its tie, however, was in Week 5 against Mahanoy Area. The last time Tamaqua was 5-0 was 1956.

"I came here from Northern Lehigh where we went into every season with a goal of playing in districts and winning championships," said Bonner. "Making the Eastern Conference playoffs here last year was a big step for us. This year we want to build on that success and get into districts. We're stressing to the kids that every game counts. We need to be ready to play each week."


RUNNING WILD .... Northern Lehigh's Cody Remaley rushed for 208 yards and three touchdowns on Friday night against Saucon Valley. It was the junior halfback's second 200-yard game in his career (201 yards vs. Notre Dame in 2008). Remaley's performance was also the most rushing yards for Bulldog since Oct. 13, 2005 when Nick Hosford ran for 219 yards.


BOMBS AWAY ... Northwestern had trouble containing Wilson's high powered offense in a Colonial League game Friday night, but the Tigers' offense did manage a few bright spots.

In the game, Northwestern scored on a 64-yard touchdown pass from Trevor German to Colton Breininger. The last time the Tigers had a TD pass longer than that was Sept. 20, 2003 when Nick Eschbach and quarterback Ryan Oxley hooked up for a 72-yard TD pass against Pen Argyl.


LIKE OLD TIMES ... Saturday afternoon football games used to be the norm for Marian, but that changed when the Colts installed lights prior to the start of the 2001 season. Since then, Saturday afternoon games have been few and far between for Marian.

This week, however, the Colts will return to Saturday afternoon football when they travel to Rosetto to play Pius X. It will be Marian's first Saturday day game since Sept. 4, 2004 against Lehighton.


TOUCHDOWN MAKER ... Pleasant Valley's Anthony Bumbulsky had a part in both his team's touchdowns in last week's loss to Hazleton. Bumbulsky, a former quarterback with the Bears who now plays receiver, threw a three-yard TD pass to Rich Irving in the third quarter and then caught a 19-yard scoring pass from Derrick Walling in the final quarter.

In the past 10 years, only two other area players have caught a TD pass and thrown one in the same game.

On Oct. 12, 2001, Palmerton's Erick Kresge accomplished the feat against Palisades and on Nov. 11, 2006, Cody Woodward of Northwestern turned the trick in a playoff win over Bethlehem Catholic.


COLONIAL LEAGUE SCHEDULE ... With a 12-team league and only a 10-game football scheduled allowed by the PIAA, every team in the Colonial League misses one other league team every year.

This year, there is a chance that those misses might prevent the most interesting matchups of the season.

Three weeks into the season, the only two unbeaten teams remaining in the league are Wilson and Catasauqua and they don't play this year. That means the league has the possibility of having two 10-0 teams.

There are also just three winless teams left Palmerton, Bangor and Notre Dame. Since Palmerton and Notre Dame don't play this season there is also the possibility the league could have two 0-10 teams as well.

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