Raiders roll past Panther Valley
Tamaqua's Nick Breiner looks for running room as Bronson Strouse (55) makes a block. RON GOWER/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS
Win probability is generally high when a team scores on offense, defense, and special teams.
Tamaqua did just that, and the odds heavily favored the Raiders during a 71-0 victory against Panther Valley at home on Friday night.
“When we start getting into some tighter games, I think you’ll start seeing a little bit more,” said Tamaqua head coach Sam Bonner. “Fortunately in the second half we haven’t had to throw the ball too much. Our running game has been effective, and it gives us a short field.”
Tamaqua scored defensively early in the first quarter on the game’s opening drive. After a bad snap sent PV backwards 19 yards, the Panthers were buried at their own one-yard-line. Bronson Strouse took care of the rest, with a sack in the end zone for two points.
Then, it was the run-game and the offense. Senior Nick Breiner stormed 41 yards to the house at just the 10:20 mark of the opening frame. On the Raiders’ very next drive, Nate Boyle took his only carry of the game 58 yards to score.
“He has been doing everything for us for probably the past two-and-a-half years,” Bonner said of Boyle. “Kicking off, punt returns, running the ball; he’s a threat on both sides of the ball.”
On cue, Boyle housed a punt 60 yards midway through the first quarter, and it was 22-0 after one period.
Tamaqua kept rolling in all three phases of the contest. The “Blue Flock” held the Panthers to -21 yards of offense, and forced a total of three safeties.
“We give stickers out on a Thursday and everyone fights for them,” Bonner said. “If they get a sack for a safety, they get two stickers. I think we had three safeties in the first half, some of them were due to bad snaps from the center, but our kids continued to flock to the football. We’re going to have to continue to do that these upcoming weeks.”
The mercy rule was in effect after halftime, and some young players checked in on both sides.
Logan Hess scored twice and added 85 yards for the Raiders, and Lucas Schickram chipped in 45 yards. For the Panthers, junior Shawn Hoben was impressive, tallying 35 yards on six carries to lead his team.
“We got out of it healthy and I think anyone throughout the league will tell you that’s a big thing,” Bonner said. “We have to prep this week and we have a big work-week ahead of us.”
FAMILY … Tamaqua lineman Jared Reed has been a force in the trenches this year. He was a big part of another impressive Tamaqua win. “We’re all just one big family,” he said after the game. “Every day we come in and practice hard, whether it’s in the weight room or on the field.
“We support each other and play great games and make plays.”
RUNNIN’ THE ROCK … The Raiders averaged 278 yards per-game on the ground before Friday. That number will rise. “Our run game, we just punch it in there all the time, and our offensive line is real big,” added sophomore fullback Nate Curvey.
NEXT WEEK … Panther Valley will have a short week and host Lehighton on Thursday night in the annual Bo Tkach Foundation game. Tamaqua will host Blue Mountain in its Schuylkill League Division 1 opener. “We’re going to have to practice hard for them,” Curvey said. “They’re a very good team this year.”
DEFENSE … Matt Kistler had both interceptions for the Blue Raiders. Tamaqua also registered six sacks in the opening quarter.
ALMOST A MILESTONE … After picking up 137 yards on the ground on Friday, Breiner is just 11 away from 3,000 career rushing yards.