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Zuber does it all against Hurricanes

Published September 14. 2017 06:01PM

Thad Zuber always wanted to play receiver growing up.

Instead, he has been playing quarterback for Tamaqua since his freshman season.

Zuber is fresh off a 2016 season in which he threw for 1,348 yards and 11 touchdowns. Despite his strong junior campaign, his role with the Raiders' offense has changed this year.

But that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Zuber is splitting reps at quarterback with sophomore slinger Brayden Knoblauch, and the results so far have been dynamite. Tamaqua is 3-0 and both quarterbacks are effective. The Blue Raiders are averaging 452 yards per game, which is by far the best in the TN area.

"Growing up, I always thought I wanted to be a receiver," Zuber said. "I only started playing football in eighth grade. I haven't been playing quarterback all that long. Playing a lot of different positions on the field is really a lot of fun. It gives me a different experience and look on the game ... I don't really care where I play as long as I'm on the field."

Now, Zuber's childhood vision of playing receiver is in the works. Whoever isn't behind center has been doing damage at flanker for the Raiders. Both quarterbacks are true threats in the pocket, as well as on the outside, adding another dimension to their offense. Zuber displayed his all-around physical talents during last week's 41-27 win against Schuylkill Haven. The senior completed 11-of-16 passes for 144 yards and three scores, while adding three catches for 36 yards and an additional receiving touchdown. His impact was felt all over the field, which led him to win the Times News Player of the Week award.

"It kind of gives us an advantage; you don't know who's going to be at quarterback or tailback," said Zuber. "Last game was a little bit of a statement game. It was a tough game and we came away with a victory. We're 3-0, that doesn't mean anything. Next game you're either 1-0 or you're 0-1. We're just taking it game by game, trying to get the 'W' each time we go out there."

Zuber was involved in one of the biggest plays of the game in the second half, right after the Raiders committed a penalty. Tamaqua was backed up, and Haven came within striking distance. This time, Knoblauch was behind center and Zuber was at the receiver position.

"He's a smart football player and he brings a bit of everything," said Tamaqua head coach Sam Bonner. "He knows what's going to be open. He kind of put that big 2nd-and-20 play in my ear after we just got a penalty at a critical time in the game. He made a big catch for a first down. We were able to score on that drive and it kind of put the game out of hand."

Defensively, Zuber is the Raiders' No. 1 corner. His versatility comes as no surprise, as he plays three sports and ranks No. 3 academically in his class.

"He's unselfish and a very intelligent kid," said Bonner. "He realizes that's what's best for the team, and he contributes in every aspect of the game."

Zuber seems to have the perfect mentality a coach wants out of a leader. Zuber doesn't care what his role is, he just wants the best for each program that he represents-and he'll give 110 percent effort regardless of his position.

"This team plays with a lot of heart," said Zuber. "Everyone that steps on the field wants to play the game. They want to get the ball and they want to make the tackle."

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