Blue Raiders maul Miners
Jordon Flexer/Flexer Photography Tamaqua's Tyler Hope (27) struggles for extra yardage as Minersville's Ryan King (7)tries to bring him down.
It would have been easy for Tamaqua to be caught looking ahead the last few of weeks.
Instead, the Blue Raiders stayed focused and took care of business.
Because they did, there's even more to look ahead to now.
Friday night, Tamaqua remained unbeaten with a 49-0 mercy-rule mauling of Minersville. Since moving into the Anthracite Football League driver's seat with a week six victory over North Schuylkill, Tamaqua has now outscored its last three opponents 122-6.
That sets up a week 10 showdown between the Raiders and once-beaten archrival Marian.
"Our kids have done a really nice job staying focused the last few weeks," said Tamaqua coach Sam Bonner. "I was worried about a letdown against Schuylkill Haven after we beat North Schuylkill, and then the last two weeks I was concerned about us looking ahead to the Marian game.
"But we've been stressing to them how important it is to take care of the business at hand and not be looking ahead. That's not always easy to do when everyone around them is talking about the game. But I'm proud of the way our kids handled themselves. Now we can officially look ahead to Marian."
Against the Miners, Tamaqua had its first six rushing plays of the game gain zero or negative yards. gain zero or negative yards. But just when it looked like Tamaqua's offense might be in trouble, it exploded with an avalanche of big plays.
The first came on a 2nd-and-19 play from near midfield late in the first quarter. Quarterback Nate Edmonds hit Tyler Hope with a middle screen pass and Hope raced 52 yards for a touchdown.
That spark ignited an inferno.
"They were bringing a lot of people on our first two offensive series and we doing a good job of stuffing us at the line of scrimmage,"said Bonner. "Our coaches upstairs said they though the screen would work so we went with they play and Tyler turned it into a touchdown. That seemed to jumpstart us offensively."
That's an understatement.
Hope followed his receiving touchdown with a 39-yard scoring run early in the second quarter to make it 14-0. A beautiful 56-yard strike from Edmonds to Dustin Vandermartin accounted for the next score. Next it was Dalton Nunemacher's turn to make some big plays. Nunemacher had a 37-yard punt return to set up his own seven-yard TD run and then added a 38-yard scoring run to give Tamaqua a 35-0 halftime lead.
By the time the outburst was over, the Raiders had scored five touchdowns in the span of just 14 offensive plays.
"We have a number of kids who can make big plays," said Bonner. "But I think the key for us this year has been the way Nate Edmonds has passed the ball. We don't throw it much, but when we have Nate has made a lot of big plays."