Vandermartin, Tamaqua hand Shenandoah Vy. loss
It's safe to say Tamaqua's Dustin Vandermartin is feeling better these days.
After missing the season opener due to injured ribs, the senior contributed to last week's victory against Allen.
But following his performance against Shenandoah Valley Friday night, it didn't take a doctor's report to proclaim him fully recovered.
Vandermartin scored on four long touchdowns, using his speed to pull away from defenders on each one, to lead the Blue Raiders to a 38-15 Anthracite League win.
"I feel 100 percent now," said Vandermartin, who accounted for 220 yards of offense on only six touches. "We're getting in the groove now. We have a lot of skill players and we don't rely on just one player. It's always nice to get big plays. It puts points on the board in a hurry."
Actually, it was one play run three different times that allowed Vandermartin to get in the open field.
"It's nice to have him and his athleticism on the field," said Tamaqua head coach Sam Bonner, whose team finished with 484 yards of offense. "That was our speed sweep. In the past, they've loaded up on us inside and we thought we could be effective if we could get outside."
Vandermartin proved that theory correct by breaking loose for TD runs of 38, 59 and 56 yards.
"This is the first time I've been running that play," he said. "We've been practicing that play quite a bit but it's been the first time for me. I'm being recruited as a receiver, but it's nice to score running the ball too. It makes the resume look a little better."
Bonner had to feel a little better getting another one of his players back on the field.
Tyler Hope, another senior capable of producing quick points, made his season debut after being out the first two weeks. While he only saw limited action, he made the most of it.
On his first carry and the Raiders' second play of the contest, Hope fumbled the ball but quickly picked it up, reversed his field and raced 79 yards for a touchdown and a 6-0 lead.
"It was tough for us to open the season with two big-play guys (Vandermartin and Tyler Hope) out of the lineup," said Bonner. "Tyler kind of set the tone there with that long touchdown on a somewhat broken play."
Vandermartin doubled the advantage at the end of the first quarter when he broke loose for the first of his four scores.
"We were out of position and once that speed hits the corner it's hard to catch up to them," said Shenandoah mentor Randy Maksimik. "We have to remain more disciplined and stay home on the backside.
"Right off the get-go we get caught and we're down quick. We're not a team that can fight back the way we did in the past. We're not a quick-strike offense. We're a grind-it offense and we need to work on that and move it better than we've been moving it."
Tamaqua, on the other hand, continued to move the ball with relative ease. A perfect strike from quarterback Nate Edmonds to Vandermartin midway through the second frame resulted in a 44-yard scoring pass and an 18-0 margin.
Shenandoah gained some momentum by getting on the scoreboard right before the end of the half. But the 14-play drive, which was capped by Jeremiah Ney's one-yard touchdown run, was quickly negated at the start of the third quarter when Vandermartin took the first play from scrimmage for a 59-yard TD run and a 24-7 spread.
Tyler Skripko added a one-yard score late in that third frame, which was immediately followed by a Shenandoah 86-yard kickoff return. Vandermartin, however, once again dissolved any momentum from the opposition by adding his final touchdown on the first play of the final period.
Besides the play of Tamaqua's offense, the Raider defense also excelled. The winners recorded 10 tackles for loss, including a pair of quarterback sacks.
"We had some big hits on defense and we were running to the ball," said Bonner. "We made some big plays defensively and had quite a few tackles for loss."