The senior running back scored two touchdowns in his first game since tearing his ACL last season
As he prepared to play his first football game since tearing his ACL a year ago, South Western's Drew Hartlaub was understandably nervous.
How rusty would he feel after missing an entire season? Would he get nervous the first time he took a hard hit? And what if he simply didn't run the way he did two years ago?
It took only two plays during Friday's night's contest against Gettysburg for the Mustangs running back to feel like himself again. After South Western's defense forced a three-and-out on Gettysburg's first drive, Hartlaub returned a punt about 25 yards into the Warriors territory and narrowly missed out on a touchdown.
A few plays later, the senior plunged into the end zone from four yards out for his first score of the season. From that point on, the pressure was gone.
"(Those plays) really helped me nerve-wise, because I was really nervous going into the game," Hartlaub said. "It kind of got everybody fired up."
Hartlaub's final statistics in the Mustangs 35-0 win weren't remarkable, as he finished with four carries for 21 yards and two catches for 11. But he added a second touchdown in the second quarter on a 16-yard burst and played most of the game at corner on defense.
The senior, who has already received scholarship offers from Army and Albany, likely saw his touches limited because the game turned into a blowout for the Mustangs, who have a number of talented backs. Still, Hartlaub said he felt as good as he did two years ago, when he racked up over 1,300 total yards as a sophomore.
"It felt great, felt like I got a little redemption back," Hartlaub said. "It felt like from sophomore year I didn't really lose a step. It's really good to be back."
Hartlaub credited offensive lineman Bubba Carbaugh and Evan Raubenstine with helping him stay calm before the game. Raubenstine also just returned from a torn ACL sustained last season.
South Western head coach Damian Poalucci said the best part of having Hartlaub back is the boost it gives to the rest of the team. According to Poalucci, Hartlaub's determination to return this offseason provided great motivation to the Mustangs' younger players.
"He's such a hard worker, he's does it outside and he does it here with us in the weight room so the kids see that," Poalucci said. "The kids rely on him and they appreciate what he does for them, which is push them and get everybody better."
Dull back on the field
Bermudian quarterback Chase Dull was having a solid freshman campaign when he tore the ACL in his left knee in Week 8 last season. Fast forward 10 months and the sophomore is back with a vengeance as he led the Eagles to six touchdown drives with a 9-of-13 passing performance for 155 yards in the team's 42-26 win against New Oxford on Friday.
"It's awesome to be back on the field," Dull said. "I missed being able to be out there with the guys."
Dull, a sturdy 6-foot, 210-pound signal caller, was fully cleared for physical activity in early July.
"You hate to see kids get hurt, but unfortunately injuries happen. He's worked hard to get back on the field," Bermudian head coach Jon DeFoe said. "He threw the ball great tonight. He has a good arm and adds a dimension to us offensively that we probably wouldn't have otherwise."
— Tom Sixeas contributed to this report.
South Western running back Drew Hartlaub discusses scoring two touchdowns in the Mustangs 35-0 win over Gettysburg Friday. It was his first game since tearing his ACL in last season's opener. Matt Allibone