Big plays boost Tide
Pottsville rolls past Tamaqua
POTTSVILLE — Pottsville quarterback Steve Messina looked up and saw Tyler Timberlake running free through the middle of Tamaqua’s defense.
“I was really surprised. I thought he was going to be covered at least a little bit,” Messina said about his pass.
Timberlake’s 86-yard catch-and-run was one of several big plays that boosted the Crimson Tide to a 42-12 romp over previously unbeaten Tamaqua in a Schuylkill League Division I game Friday at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
“When we can throw the ball and run the ball like we did, we’re a pretty dangerous offense. It’s tough to stop when we’ve got weapons,” Pottsville head coach Tom McGeoy said.
Tamaqua was unable to contain those weapons, as Pottsville produced 453 total yards of offense.
Senior running backs Sam Siminitus, who rushed for 165 yards, and Ian Murhon each scored two touchdowns as Pottsville (4-2, 1-0 D-I) built a 21-0 halftime lead before pulling away in the second half.
“We knew going into this that we had to be a little tougher defensively, and I don’t think we showed that tonight,” Tamaqua head coach Sam Bonner said.
After forcing the first of five consecutive punts by the Blue Raiders (5-1, 1-1) to begin the game, Pottsville asserted its offense with touchdowns on its first two drives.
A 68-yard march ended with Justice Minor’s 3-yard touchdown run, followed by a 54-yard drive capped by Siminitus’ 13-yard TD carry.
Tamaqua halted Pottsville’s next drive and forced the Crimson Tide on their ensuing series into a thirdand-11 from their 6-yard line.
A Tide timeout preceded Messina’s big pass to Timberlake, part of a night in which he completed seven passes for 181 yards.
“They came out and they gave us the coverage we liked,” Messina said. “We saw that earlier in the game and I kind of missed it. Coach called it again, and it was right there.”
The play set up the Tide at Tamaqua’s 8, from where Murhon ran to the end zone. With Tobias Serrian’s extra point, the Tide led 21-0 going into halftime.
Pottsville needed just one play to hike the edge to 27-0. After the kickoff return to begin the second half, Siminitus burst through the Blue Raider line on the first play from scrimmage for an 83-yard touchdown run.
Tamaqua came right back on its next series with a 65-yard drive behind quarterback Thad Zuber, whose 8-yard TD run sliced the deficit to 27-8.
Pottsville answered on the ensuing possession. A 33-yard pass to Ian Renninger opened a five-play, 55-yard drive that Murhon ended with a 17-yard touchdown carry for a 35-6 lead.
That score lasted into the fourth period, when Pottsville’s Cody Searfoss produced the final of the Tide’s big plays — a 49-yard interception return of a Zuber pass for a touchdown with 10:20 left in the game.
It was the final frustration for a Tamaqua offense that was stymied for much of Friday’s game.
“We knew all week Renninger was a tough kid. Their D-line, I thought, really took it to us,” Bonner said. “We had a hard time not allowing their penetration.”
Tamaqua’s Nick Breiner, limited much of the night, finally broke free with 7:06 left when he ran 49 yards for the game’s final touchdown, ending his night at 99 yards rushing.
Pottsville then ran out the clock for a big win entering next week’s Clash of 61 showdown at Blue Mountain.
“I was joking with them, ‘Who are we playing next week?’ ” McGeoy said about the postgame meeting with the team. “We’ll be ready to go.”
Tamaqua will try to regroup as it travels to unbeaten Lehighton next Friday.
“I said I think we’re a better football team than we showed tonight,” Bonner said. “We’ve just got to bounce back and go back to fundamentals.”
SAM SIMINITUS Rushes for 186 yards, 2 TDs for Pottsville