Pioneer City running back has varsity squad back in the playoff chase
Two years ago, Carbondale Area's Nick Vadella earned a starting role in the Chargers' secondary as a freshman and was ticketed for offensive action as a tailback and receiver.
But early in the season during pre-game warm-ups, Vadella felt a pop in his knee and was lost for the season.
After Vadella spent the off-season hard at work rehabbing his knee, he came back a year ago and played a key role in the secondary and carried the ball 33 times for 173 yards.
This season, two years removed from the injury, Vadella has been a catalyst in the Chargers' sudden three-week surge into the post season playoff picture.
Starting in the secondary and playing WR-TB on offense during the first two games, Vadella was moved exclusively to tailback on offense the last three games.
And the junior changed the dynamic in the offensive attack.
"Nick can run downhill and mix it up but also has the natural instincts to feel open spaces," said head coach, Larry Gabriel III.
"He also has deceptive speed where things can be bottled up and suddenly he can bounce into open areas."
After 23 carries through the first two games alternating between WR and TB, Vadella was moved exclusively to TB in week three vs. Mid Valley.
Against the Spartans, Vadella pounded his way to 175 yards and two TDs on 37 carries as CA rallied from a 13-0 halftime for a 26-13 victory.
While he didn't get a school-record 49 carries like his neighbor, former Charger head coach John Lasavage did in a game 45 years earlier, Vadella's carries showcased his toughness.
In that game, he also came up with a key second half turnover.
"It's a long season, so we are looking to our fullbacks, Frank Burke and Steve Martin to carry a lot of the load and they've done a great job ," stated Gabriel. "They've also provided solid blocking.
Two weeks ago, Vadella slashed, dashed and crashed for 107 yards and a score on 19 carries to provide a potent change of pace to Burke's and Martin's big chunk yardage yardage at fullback.
"Our line play continues to improve each week, so, they have been a big part of our ground game's recent success," said Gabriel.
At Susquehanna, Vadella rushed for 90 yards on 18 carries including a fourth and goal, six yard TD run and a 39 yard TD catch on a sprint down the enemy sideline just before half that proved to be a back breaker pushing CA to a two score lead.
With a 5.0 yards per carry mark in his last 74 attempts over three games, Vadella has jolted the offense. He also starts in the secondary and returns kicks.
With half a season ahead, CA looks to charge toward a post season berth and Vadella has been one of the positive forces behind the effort.