By Jeremy Stafford - firstname.lastname@example.org
WINCHESTER -- There was little in Philadelphia that Brad Martz liked.
Martz had grown up on a farm in Keymar, Md., so living in the city was entirely unnerving.
The surrounding area was hardly more appealing.
And then there was the annoyance with football: The coaches at Temple University had promised Martz playing time at defensive back, and he wasn't getting it.
To top it all off, everyone at the Division I program lived, breathed, ate, drank football.
"It was like your life," Martz said. "You didn't have any time off."
So by season's end, Martz decided to leave Temple. He searched his brain's Rolodex for another school to play football for, and one came immediately to mind: That tiny school in Winchester -- Shenandoah University -- whose head coach, Paul Barnes, had recruited Martz while he was at Francis Scott Key High School.
Barnes had told Martz to call him if he needed anything, and in the spring of 2009, Martz needed a roster spot.
So the player and coach worked everything out, and Martz was enrolled at SU for the spring semester.
Six months later, just a week before Shenandoah's season opener at Catholic, Martz lined up at tailback during a practice. The drill pitted SU's first-team offense against the first-team defense, and Martz was told to get a first down.
Martz was hit as he burst through the hole made by the offensive line. He leapt forward, landed awkwardly on his elbow, broke his collarbone.
Martz had never had broken a bone before.
He got up and moved his arm, to his immediate misfortune.
"I think when I moved it I made it worse," Martz said, "like I snapped it."
And just like that he was out for the season. Martz had to wait another week or so before getting surgery, then another four months before he was cleared to play. It wasn't until about the time spring ball commenced that Martz could partake in any heavy lifting and football activities.
Meanwhile, he watched from the sidelines as the Hornets limped through a 1-9 season. He helped during film sessions and traveled with the team for away games.
He hoped to come back midway through the season by wrapping his chest in padding, but trainers wouldn't allow it.
"I just tried to be there for them," Martz said, "but I mean, it was sad I couldn't really ... participate."
In Shenandoah's game against Catholic this season, Martz got his first collegiate carry, taking a fake punt 9 yards for a first down.
He got his first offensive carry on Saturday at Bridgewater. On Shenandoah's 11th play of the night, Martz rushed for a yard to the Bridgewater 23.
By the second quarter Martz found a rhythm. His sixth carry went for 4 yards; his seventh carry went for 6 yards, as did his 11th carry. His 14th carry went 8 yards and ended in the end zone. Martz's score was Shenandoah's first rushing touchdown of the season, and his first-ever collegiate touchdown.
He ended the night with 58 rushing yards.
"He did a great job," Shenandoah quarterback Daniel Wright said. "He's a great runner, a hard runner, he knows how to run behind his pads well, and it's gonna take more than one guy to bring him down."
Hornets starting tailback Kevin Roberts said that, with Martz' performance last Saturday, Shenandoah now has three capable tailbacks to choose from.
With Keone Kyle providing power as a fullback, and Roberts providing speed as a tailback, Martz seems to fit snugly in between the two.
"Brad's kinda right there in the middle," Roberts said. "He can block, he can run the ball, he can do a little bit of everything.
"With him back there, all three of us back there, we should all make things happen."
For now, Martz is listed as a tailback, but earlier in the season he dabbled some at defensive back, and in SU's two-minute offense he's been known to line up at wide receiver.
Which could prove to be an essential asset come Shenandoah's 1 p.m. game today at Randolph-Macon. The Yellow Jackets have an explosive offense, having thrashed Methodist 54-14 two weeks ago, and edged No. 8 Johns Hopkins 41-37 last week.
"He gets after it -- he is a very highly motivated, highly intense human being who gets after it -- that's what I like about him," Barnes said. "And he keeps our intensity up, and he made some very good plays Saturday, not only running the football and hitting the right hole, but I think his blocking was tremendous Saturday.
"I mean, he made some good blocks Saturday and I was very proud to see that."