Raiders' OL dominates
Tamaqua's Jake Love follows the blocking of lineman Austin Resch as he picks up some yardage in Friday night's win over Allen. BOB FORD /TIMES NEWS
One of Tamaqua's biggest question marks entering the season was its offensive line.
After the first two games of 2012, though, there's no doubt the men in the trenches are no longer a major concern.
Last week, the Blue Raiders' front helped open holes for both Dalton Nunemacher and Jake Love, as the two running backs each topped the 100-yard plateau in a win against Jim Thorpe. On Friday night, it was more of the same against Allen.
Tamaqua once again dominated the line of scrimmage, and Nunemacher and Love turned in a repeat performance of Week One. Nunemacher ran for 136 yards and four touchdowns and Love gained 117 yards as the Raiders cruised to an easy 33-6 victory to improve to 2-0.
"We rushed for over 300 yards last week and we were probably over that again tonight," said Tamaqua head coach Sam Bonner, whose club finished with 366 yards on the ground on 44 carries. "Obviously they're doing the job. We're a little bit bigger there than we were in the past. We have a combination of young kids and older ones ... Our offensive line is really coming around."
The host team set the tempo right after the opening kickoff as the Raiders moved 56 yards in seven plays to gain an early 7-0 lead.
Nunemacher, who had all five of his team's touchdowns, went the final 36 after busting through a huge hole at the line.
The Canaries responded with a drive of their own, but a scoring opportunity went by the wayside when Dylan Houser receovered a fumble.
On Tamaqua's second series, it was Love who benefitted from his friends up front. The senior had major gaps to run through, picking up gains of 22 and 38 yards. The march finished with Love tossing an option pass to Nunemacher for an eight-yard score and a 14-0 advantage.
"We talk about it every day at practice," said senior tackle Luke Matsago. "We want to make holes for our guys who worked hard in the offseason and get them the glory. We were getting a good push, and everything was flowing well.
"We've surprisingly gelled very well. Everybody thought when our seniors left last year that we were going to have some trouble up front but everybody worked hard in camp. I think we have something good going."
Everything ended up good for the Raiders on offense on this night.
Nunemacher picked up 59 yards on seven attempts during the Raiders' third drive, which resulted in his eight-yard scoring run and a 21-0 margin.
After intermission, the hosts picked up right where they left off. With the line continuing to do its job, Tamaqua moved 89 yards in eight plays. Nunemacher's fourth score on a one-yard run made it 27-0 and clinched the victory. Nunemacher's final tally came on a six-yard run with 1:24 left in the third quarter.
"We played a full game tonight," said Bonner. "We emphasized at halftime we were coming out and it was 21-0 and we wanted to put a nail in the coffin and our kids did a good job of that.
"I was a little concerned the way they moved the ball (Allen threw for over 200 yards) but fortunately for us they really couldn't stop our offense."