Everything clicking for Knoblauch
Brayden Knoblauch keeps getting better with every varsity start.
After splitting time behind-center with Thad Zuber last season, Knoblauch has taken the reigns of the Raiders’ offense this year, and certainly hasn’t disappointed.
The junior completed 8-of-10 passes for 135 yards and two touchdowns during Tamaqua’s 42-0 rout of Schuylkill Haven last Friday. As a result, he earned the Times News Player of the Week honor.
“He missed his first two passes (last week) and then hit eight in a row,” said Tamaqua head coach Sam Bonner. “Two touchdown passes to his buddy (Matt) Kistler. We’ve been fortunate in the first three games that we didn’t throw the ball too much in the second half, and he has been on the bench during the fourth quarter a lot. He’s probably played three really good halves of football, and he’s been doing a great job for us. I love the way he spreads the ball around for us, and I think that’s going to make us harder to defend.”
As a sophomore last year, Knoblauch completed 57 percent of his passes, threw for 938 yards, and tossed 10 touchdowns while throwing just three interceptions. He’s taken his game to another level this season, completing 65 percent of his passes with three scores and zero interceptions.
“It helped me out with Thad there, with having the tempo of varsity,” Knoblauch said in regards to last season. “That gave me a lot of confidence going into this year and helped me become the player I am right now, so I thank Thad for that.”
Knoblauch displayed all of his tools in last Friday’s win against the Hurricanes. He hit Kistler over the middle on a beautiful play-fake for one score. On the second scoring-connection between the duo, Knoblauch dropped back, pumped left, regrouped, and then threw a perfect strike down the sideline to Kistler, which completed the pump-and-go. Knoblauch is able to use his legs on designed rollout plays, and he didn’t take a single sack last week either.
“He doesn’t make a lot of mistakes,” Bonner said. “I think he’s matured a lot over the last year, and I think he realized that more is on his shoulders. He has taken that responsibility well, and he’s leading the team well.”
Knoblauch was quick to credit his teammates when asked about last week’s big win.
“We have a couple of pretty good kids,” Knoblauch said. “We have Matt (Kistler) who can do whatever he wants on the outside; he has the speed and hands to catch anything. We have Nick (Breiner) and Nate (Boyle) in the back field; Nick can run all over and make people miss, and you also have Nate, he can run the ball, catch the ball, and even throw it if he wants to. Our linemen are big up front. Without them, it’s nothing.”
Knoblauch has a great staff, had the on-field mentor last year in Zuber, and has ton of weapons to work with. Additionally, the quarterback has some family that he wanted to give a shout out to.
“My entire life I’ve always been at the quarterback spot,” Knoblauch said. “Growing up I always watched my Uncle Adam (Knoblauch), he went to Del Val, and I went to every one of his games and watched all of his tapes. My grandfather (Terry “Nails” Knoblauch”) and I have been watching football together my entire life, so I thank those two for helping me become the quarterback I am today.”