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Valley male athlete of the week

| Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2007

Name: Derek Bandurak

Class: Junior

School: Apollo-Ridge

Sport: Football

Notables: Bandurak rushed for a WPIAL-high 226 yards and touchdowns of 69, 61, 32 and 8 yards in a 35-34 loss to Monaca on opening night.

In fact, Bandurak's rushing total was more than he had all of last season.

"We expected him to do quite a bit this year," Apollo-Ridge coach Jerry Moore said. "We weren't surprised. We saw some good things last year. He was really coming on at the end."

Bandurak credits his Week 1 success to his solid offensive line, which is relatively big by Class A standards, and fellow running backs for their down-field blocking.

Bandurak has dedicated this season to his father, David, who died from a heart attack earlier this year. David played football at Highlands.

"I'm trying to make him proud," Derek said. "I know he's watching me."

Moore thinks Bandurak, who also starts at cornerback, is poised for a breakout year.

"He's out-running people, he's got good vision, he can cut very well, and he executes like he's supposed to," Moore said. "He's a good kid, a smart kid. He's a nice complete running back."

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