For those of you who play fantasy football, you know that feeling you get when one of your top players doesn't play because of an injury? And not just any injury, an injury that you think that player can play through.
Well, if there was such a thing as high school fantasy football and Tyler Hope was your running back, then you certainly wouldn't have to worry about that. Hope would be considered fantasy gold and as far as playing through an injury is concerned this young man may take the cake.
The Raiders senior running back literally torched Schuylkill Haven last week for 350 yards and four touchdowns and all on a bad back. He helped Tamaqua down the 'Canes 32-14 and also earned TIMES NEWS Player of the Week honors with his outstanding performance.
It seems that Hope has had big play written on his forehead throughout the season, averaging 11.73 yards per carry, while scoring eight touchdowns. What is even more amazing is that he's doing all that and he's still not even 100% and probably won't be until the season is over.
"I was throwing the javelin at the Penn Relays and my back started to bother me," said Hope "I just thought it was something muscular, but then it got worse and worse and I found out that I had a stress fracture on my fourth lumbar on my back. The doctor cleared me to play, but he told me it was going to be really painful. The only way it will completely heal is when I'm able to rest and obviously that won't be till the end of the season."
Just talking to Hope reminds you of old school football where guys would pop their shoulders in and go in on the next play. He's that type of kid and that type of player, which in turn is a big reason why he's been able to be so successful this season even though not fully healthy.
"If it wasn't my senior season I probably would of been forced to sit out, but since it's my last year everybody has supported my decision to play," said Hope. It's really tough not being able to practice as much as I should and sometimes my technique is off and I make mistakes. But I just have to be out there for my teammates and try to help out the best I can. I know they would do the same for me."
With senior Dustin Vandermartin (400 plus total yards, nine touchdowns) out for the season with an injury, Hope's presence becomes even more important for the Raiders. Head coach Sam Bonner made it pretty clear that with Hope on the field they're definitely a more dangerous team.
"We're hoping we can use Tyler more and more, but with his type of injury you never know," said Bonner. "Last week was the most we used him and he runs for 350 yards. I think that speaks volumes on the type of kid he is. With him on the field we're a threat to break the big play and he showed that last week with touchdown runs of 55, 79, and 91 yards. We're lucky to have him, there's no doubt about that."
Hope's running along with a strong effort from the defensive and offensive line a week ago helped the Raiders get a big win over Schuylkill Haven. A win that has them right back in the District 11 AA playoff hunt.
"Our win last week was a big confidence boost and we need to bring that with us this week," said Hope. "Our goal is to win out and make a nice run at the end of the year."