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Tamaqua runs past Knights for first win

PEN ARGYL - Tamaqua’s rushing game came to play Saturday afternoon against Pen Argyl on the Green Knights’ Alumni Day.

When junior tailback Warren Stewart went down early, Blue Raider running backs Zander Coleman and Love Ortiz took over for the ailing Stewart, and the duo combined for 249 rushing yards in a 34-14 vitory over Pen Argyl.

“Once Stewart went down, Love stepped in there and I thought he did a nice job at tailback for us for a young guy,” Tamaqua head coach Sam Bonner said. “Zander had a hell of a game for us.”

Tamaqua got out of its losing slump, having lost its first three games, in a dominating performance over the Knights.

The Blue Raiders (1-3) were defeated by Northwestern, Lehighton and Northern Lehigh in the first three weeks of the season.

“Playing against better competition makes you better, so hopefully I thought we took a step forward this week, and hopefully we do the same thing next week,” Bonner said. “(At) Tamaqua, you usually don’t want to wait until Week 4 to get that W.

“Sometimes, you wait a little bit longer and it’s a little bit sweeter. It’s definitely relieving to get that first win.”

Coleman was the star of the game, carrying 16 times for 194 yards and two rushing touchdowns.

“Our offensive line is the main reason,” Coleman said. “They really picked it up. They gave me the opportunities. Everybody did their jobs, and I found the holes. We really focused on it throughout the week and made sure we knew what their weaknesses were, and we attacked that.”

The Blue Raider rushing game picked apart the Pen Argyl defense as Tamaqua rushed for 279 rushing yards on the afternoon.

Quarterback Nate Gregoire also had two rushing touchdowns, to go with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Steven Kostecky to put Tamaqua up 14-0 with 7:13 left in the first half.

Tamaqua scored 21 second-quarter points after both teams had failed to score in the opening frame.

Touchdowns from Gregoire and Coleman pushed the margin to 34-0 before the Green Knights finally got on the board in the fourth quarter. Brad Rissmiller fired a bullet to Zach Rudy for a 57-yard score that ruined the Raiders’ shutout bid.

Pen Argyl got another touchdown late in the game when Rissmiller threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Damian Tyminski.


... Both Tamaqua and Pen Argyl were winless going into Saturday’s contest, and each program was eager to get its first victory of the season.


... The Blue Raider rushing game accounted for four of the team’s five touchdowns. Although the passing game was used sparingly, Gregoire connected on some key passes when he went to the air.


... Tamaqua will be on the road again in Week 5 at Salisbury. The Falcons lost 20-0 to Jim Thorpe Friday and remain winless at 0-4.

Zander Coleman runs for 194 yards & 2 TDs