Raiders continue late season push
MINERSVILLE - Tamaqua entered its match up with Minersville at 5-3, knowing the final two games of the season would be crucial as far as post-season playoffs were concerned.
With the Blue Raiders starting out trying to establish their running game, they went on to rout the Miners, 50-19.
Tyler Hope took control on the first offensive series with Tyler Skripko eventually punching it in for the Blue Raiders first score.
Tamaqua added another touchdown in the first quarter, as Hope reeled in a 49-yard pass from Nate Edmonds.
Despite each team picking up 18 first downs on the night, the game was never close.
Minersville had three trips to the Raider red zone in the first half and came up empty on two of them.
"I would have to say without question that this was the best offensive game we've played all year," said Minersville head coach Pat Mason.
Luke Heffron had the only touchdown for Minersville in the first half on a four-yard plunge.
Tamaqua was up 28-6 entering the third quarter, thanks to two takeaways by its defense and a strong rushing attack.
"We have bunch of guys contributing for us on the defensive side of the ball," said Tamaqua head coach Sam Bonner. "Our defense bent but didn't break. We have a huge game coming up next week and we need to continue to get better."
Edmonds again found his favorite target (Hope) deep over the middle for a 54-yard score, as he out ran the Minersville secondary early in the third quarter.
Hope totaled 330 yards of total offense and four touchdowns during the contest.
"He's been huge for us the last few weeks, not many running backs can perform on the level that he does," Bonner said. "He's a huge difference maker. He's one of the better kids that I've seen run the ball in a long time."
"Hope proved all year he's a great back." Mason noted. "We didn't tackle well tonight and when you give a kid like him second chances, he's going to do some damage."
Junior running back David Schultz was a bright spot for Minersville.
Schultz totaled 119 yards on the ground including two fourth quarter touchdowns.
"I thought our kids came to play and gave a heck of an effort," said Mason. "This team is gaining more experience every week and we just need to keep plugging away."
Bonner and his Tamaqua team knows what's at stake next week against Marian.
"We have to go about business like every other week, but the adrenaline is going to be much higher," he said.