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

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