BROOKVILLE — Feasting on turnovers, the Brookville Raiders cruised to a 35-6 win over Punxsutawney last Friday night in their annual Route 36 Trophy clash.

The Raiders’ 3-0 start was the third straight fast start in as many years and it’s just the second time in program history — 1931 through 1933 is the other — that the Raiders haven’t been beaten after three games.

The last two years? Expected somewhat. This year, thanks to a heavy hit to graduation, not so much, although they still haven’t played a team that has a win yet with the Chucks, DuBois, Bradford and even Central Clarion this week a combined 0-8 so far.

“These guys are meshing,” Raiders head coach Scott Park said. “The growth since June has been remarkable and it’s good to see. We just want to keep getting better. We by no means played our best game and there is still room for improvement. We just have to keep in mind that we want to get one percent better every day as a person and team and keep plugging away.”

Senior lineman Hunter Smith and Brayden Kunselman led the charge for the Raiders, who cashed in on four of those eight Chucks giveaways for 28 points.

Kunselman had three interceptions, one in the first half and two in the second, his third returning 60 yards for a touchdown to complete the game’s scoring with 7:18 left in the fourth quarter. He also grabbed four passes for 31 yards, including one of quarterback Charlie Krug’s three TD passes on a 16-yarder in the first half.

Smith made his presence felt all night, notching two sacks for 14 yards in losses and two deflected passes in the first half. He’s up to five sacks for the season while Kunselman hiked his pickoff total to four.

“They’re playing really well and they just have a passion for the game,” Park said. “I can’t say Hunter came out of nowhere because it started last year when he stepped in when Elliot (Park) was hurt and it’s just continuing this year.”

There were certainly others, considering the Raiders intercepted Chucks quarterbacks Noah Weaver and Peyton Hetrick a combined six times while also recovering two fumbles for a whopping eight turnovers.

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Truman Sharp, Carson Weaver and Coyha Brown also had interceptions.

“I was a little nervous there when it was 7-0 for awhile and Punxsutawney did a good job moving the ball in the first quarter, but the defense stepped up and got the first interception and played kind of lights out after that,” Park said.

The Raiders outgained the Chucks, 287-147, and turned the ball over three times themselves on Krug interceptions. He finished 14-for-24 for 164 yards with three TDs. Jackson Zimmerman ran for 67 yards on six carries, most of that coming on his 46-yard TD run in the second half. He also caught a 13-yard TD from Krug in the first half.

Sharp’s 39-yard TD pass from Krug came one play after Kunselman’s first interception and 43-yard return, starting the scoring with a 7-0 lead at the 4:08 mark of the first quarter. Sharp grabbed his interception three plays later, but the Raiders didn’t turn that into any points.

The Raiders made it 14-0 on Krug’s 16-yarder to Kunselman with 2:55 left in the first half and late in the half Zimmerman’s fumble recover of a Zeke Bennett fumble gave the Raiders the ball at the Chucks’ 10. Three plays later, Krug’s nice scrambling play to keep things alive allowed Zimmerman to get open in the back of the end zone for a 13-yard TD with just 42 seconds left in the half for a 21-0 lead.

A turnover-filled third quarter saw four straight interceptions, two from each side, before Zimmerman blasted 46 yards for his rushing TD one play after Weaver’s interception for a 28-0 advantage with 2:08 left in the third.

The Chucks’ lone touchdown came four plays into the fourth quarter on Hetrick’s 15-yard pass to Alex Phillips. Kunselman’s 60-yard return set the final midway through the fourth.

Bennett ran for 92 yards on 25 carries. The Chucks’ Weaver was 1-for-7 for 11 yards with two interceptions while Hetrick completed 5 of 11 passes for 71 yards with four interceptions to go with his TD pass to Phillips, who caught three passes for 34 yards.

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