By Justin Rodriguez
Section 9 Football Insider
Valley Central rigorously game planned and prepared for Pine Bush running backs Anthony Potts and Xavier Martinez last Friday, pouring over film and scouting reports leading into the showdown.
Meanwhile, senior Tyler Waller didn’t gain as much of Valley Central’s attention, and rightfully so. Waller sat out last season with an ankle injury and rushed for only 55 yards on 13 carries in Pine Bush’s season-opening win over Washingtonville.
After his performance against Valley Central, Waller likely will get more looks the rest of the year. He put up the game of his life in a 41-22 win over Valley Central, rushing for 174 yards and a touchdown.
“I think Valley Central realized during the game that we had a three-headed monster and we couldn’t be stopped,” said Martinez, a junior. “Tyler was hitting the holes at 100 miles per hour.”
Waller’s emergence comes at the perfect time: Pine Bush (2-0) plays at Newburgh (2-0) in a Section 9 Class AA showdown at 7 p.m. on Friday.
“Waller is the third running back of three good running backs,” Valley Central coach Ron Introini said. “He kind of took us by surprise. You put all of your effort into stopping the other two guys and he is pretty darn good. Waller is pretty dynamic when he runs the ball.”
Waller, who is 5-foot-7, 170 pounds, is a quick and shifty runner, contemplating Potts and Martinez well. Martinez (6-4, 225) is a bruising fullback and Potts (6-1, 185) is a combination of speed and toughness. Potts rushed for 222 yards against Valley Central and Martinez put up 103 yards.
Potts and Martinez both made names for themselves last year. Martinez rushed for 377 yards and five touchdowns and Potts put up 605 yards and six scores for the Bushmen. Both running backs don’t mind sharing the backfield with Waller.
“We don’t really care who gets the ball,” Potts said. “We just want to do our best to win games. It feels good to know that we can all make plays, but that wouldn’t happen without our offensive line. They put up some pretty big blocks for us.”
Waller is reveling in what could be a breakout year. He transferred from Pine Bush to Paramus Catholic as a freshman, but returned after one year because he didn’t like the private school. Waller played jayvee as a sophomore at Pine Bush and sustained a season-ending ankle injury in last year’s season-opener against Valley Central.
“I’ve worked hard and I’m happy to be back,” Waller said. “I’m thankful that the coaches have given me this opportunity. I love my Pine Bush football family and I just want to see us continue to win.”