Knoblauch, Kistler ignite Blue Raiders
HERNDON — It is safe to say that the 2019 Tamaqua football team has picked up where it has left off from last season.
Riding a wave of superb passing by senior quarterback Braydon Knoblauch, who threw for 347 yards and three scores, the Raiders rocked Line Mountain to the tune of 40-0.
Knoblauch had one of the most sensational nights a high school football quarterback could ever have, by going 16-for-18, missing only one throw in the first half, and another in the second half.
His first touchdown heave was a bomb to speedy wide out senior Matt Kistler on an 86-yard hookup that was the first offensive play of the new season for the Blue Raiders.
Struggling to run the ball because the Eagles were putting nine-men in the box on defense, the Raiders continued to unleash Knoblauch’s terrific passing arm.
Holding a 7-0 lead to open the second quarter, Knoblauch again sought out Kistler and flung a 12-yard score.
Knoblauch’s highlighted film continued on Tamaqua’s next scoring drive as he rifled a 17-yard completion to Nate Boyle out of the backfield, and found Kistler for an 8-yard completion. The Raiders then turned to the quick-footed Boyle who reeled off a nifty 26-yard sprint to the one-yard line before cracking the end zone on the next play.
“Some of our receivers look like tall tooth picks, but they’re all very quick,” said Tamaqua coach Sam Bonner as he proceeded to reel off the names of Kistler, Pierce Demetriades, Cody Hamm, Jake Barron and tight end Lucas Gregoire — all of whom had catches.
Without a doubt, the Raiders didn’t need to rely on the running game, not with Knoblauch pulling the trigger and engineering the drives.
“He’s our senior leader, he’s been at quarterback for the past three seasons and he’s very good as you can see,” continued Bonner. “Our receivers run precise routes, as you can see they’re disciplined, they find a seam and get to it and turn and look for the ball.
“We didn’t particularly run the ball that effective, but they loaded the box up and we knew what had to get done to win the game.”
Tamaqua widen the spread to 28-0 with 2:41 to play in the first half, needing but five plays to polish off a 62-yard drive. Knoblauch found Kistler with an 8-yard TD fling to cap the march.
Tamaqua made it 34-0 with 1:56 to go in the third period with a Boyle run.
It took until the 10:01 mark of the fourth quarter to kick in the mercy rule when Boyle hit the end zone on a two-yard run.
“There’s a long season ahead of us,” said Bonner as he sprinted to greet his players. “We now have to get ready for Mahanoy Area.”
DOMINATION ... Though the offense was the keynote, the Raiders defense did some sticking. Jared Reed made some big hits as did Nate Wickersham, Bronson Strouse and Lucas Schickram.
ALL IN THE MIX ... Tamaqua has quality receivers. Six good hands guys got their paws on the ball. Kistler was extremely impressive with seven catches for a whopping 192 yards. He is quick, elusive and savvy.
WATCH HIM SCOOT ... Boyle had another solid outing. The senior running back scored three touchdowns, finishing with 14 carries for 44 yards. The best is yet to come for Boyle
MISSING IN ACTION ... The much heralded Tamaqua High School marching band, one of the finest in the region, didn’t make the trip. They were sorely missed.