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Knoblauch delivers in Raider rout

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    Tamaqua’s Matt Kistler (right) goes up to haul in a pass in front of Lehighton’s Nolan Stein. RICH SMITH/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS

Published October 12. 2019 02:08AM

Tamaqua coach Sam Bonner and Lehighton coach Tom McCarroll were both looking for more consistent play from their teams on Friday night.

But only the Raiders were able to achieve that.

Tamaqua piled up 529 yards on offense as quarterback Knoblauch threw for three touchdowns and ran for another.

The result was a 54-6 Raider victory over the Indians.

The game began with both teams going three and out on their first possessions, but the second time the Raiders got the ball, Knoblauch engineered a 75 yard drive that ended when he passed to Jake Barron for a 7-yard TD.

The Indians then opted to go for a first down on a fourth and seven from their own 45, but a pass from Lucas Sangiuliano fell incomplete giving the Raiders great field possession. The Tribe defense stiffened and a Raider 30 yard field attempt was no good.

Lehighton again went three and out. Two runs by the Raiders’ Nate Boyle put the ball on the Indian 16 yard line when Knoblauch, after scrambling out of the pocket, ran around left end for the touchdown and a 13-0 lead with 6:13 left in the half.

After the Tribe drove from their own 36 to the Raiders’ 27 yard line, two incomplete passes on third and fourth downs ended their threat. The Raiders then tacked on six more points when Knoblauch finished a 73 yard touchdown drive with a five-yard pass to Lucas Gregoire with 43 seconds left in the half.

“I thought we played pretty well in the first half against a really good team,” said McCarroll. “We moved the ball, but we just didn’t finish our drives.”

“We’ve been pretty good in the first halves of our last two tough losses.” said Bonner. “We were looking to stop any deep plays on defense and play a good third quarter.”

That’s exactly what Tamaqua did.

The Raiders came out of their locker room and lit up the scoreboard for 27 third quarter points. Offensively, the Raiders showed good balance with running and passing plays. Boyle, who ran for 137 yards in the game, took a pitch from Knoblauch and raced around right end for a 29-yard TD run.

After a Lehighton punt, Nate Curvey busted through right tackle en route to a 57-yard score.

The Raiders scored twice more in the quarter as the game went into the mercy rule.

“We’re looking for guys who want to keep fighting and battling,” said McCarroll. “We didn’t see that in the second half. They came out in the third quarter and went right down the field and scored and that was demoralizing.

“We just have to coach up our kids for the last two weeks and make up good game plans.“

Bonner was pleased with his team’s performance.

“We had a great third quarter of football, “ said Bonner. “Brayden was back on track, our defense was solid, and we moved the ball around well.

“This was nice bounce back game for us.”

SPREAD THE WEALTH ... Seven different Raiders scored TDs. During the game, seven backs carried the rock for Tamaqua and five different receivers caught passes in a very balanced attack.

DOWN SYNDROME AWARENESS ... Before the game, state representative, Doyle Heffley read a resolution proclaiming October as Down syndrome Awareness Month. Shane and Wyatt Waksmunski, nine-year-old twins with DS, and their father, Eric stood at midfield for a ceremonial coin toss. The boys were also named honorary captains for the game by Coach McCarroll.

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