by Frank Aceto
Associate Sports Editor
Tallmadge -- He left the team to take the Tallmadge head football coaching position during the winter.
But Alan Vanderink will always have a special place in his heart for Copley.
"Those guys mean a lot to me," he said. "I wish them well the rest of the season. I love those guys."
Unfortunately for Vanderink, his former team is a bit better than his current team.
The host Blue Devils' losing streak reached three games after falling to Suburban League American Conference rival Copley 35-7 Sept. 30 at Thomas Rossiaky Stadium.
With the loss, Tallmadge dropped to 2-4 overall and 0-2 in the American Conference.
For awhile, the Blue Devils' defense held the Indians in check.
Copley punted on four of its seven possessions and had a pass intercepted by Tallmadge senior defensive back Hunter Sally on another possession.
But the Indians (5-1, 2-0) scored touchdowns on their other two first-half possessions. The Blue Devils, on the other hand, didn't produce too many yards on offense.
Trailing 14-0, Tallmadge found itself in Copley territory after Sally's interception late in the half.
The Blue Devils, who had junior Cameron Knutty under center, reached the Indians' 23-yard line.
But their drive came to an end when Knutty's fourth-down pass fell incomplete.
Knutty made his first varsity start at quarterback.
"We felt Cameron gave us the best chance," Vanderink said.
The Indians made it 35-0 with 21 unanswered points in a span of 12 minutes in the second half.
Most of the damage was done by Copley's dynamic duo, senior running back Weston Bridges and senior quarterback Austin Brenner.
Bridges ran for three touchdowns and Brenner passed for two scores to lead the Indians.
Bridges led Copley's ground attack with 133 yards on 19 carries. He had touchdown runs of 61, 3 and 2, respectively.
Brenner completed a 15-yard TD pass to senior wide receiver William Bridges and a 7-yard scoring pass to senior wide receiver Alex Zelch.
Brenner connected on 13-of-24 passes for 161 yards. He also ran nine times for 64 yards.
Tallmadge's offense sputtered until late in the game.
The Blue Devils, who featured a number of shotgun snaps to the running back, were missing starting quarterback Sam Seeker, a sophomore, for the second consecutive week. Seeker missed the game due to a back injury.
"It's week to week," Vanderink said.
Tallmadge got its only score with 31 seconds left when sophomore running back Richie Eyre found the end zone from 9 yards away. Eyre finished with 40 yards on 10 carries.
The Blue Devils' ground game was led by junior running back Ty Shannon, who had 78 yards rushing on 24 carries.
Knutty completed 4-of-11 passes for 89 yards.
Sophomore linebacker Mike Yamokoski led Tallmadge with 12 tackles.
"I'm proud of the kids," Vanderink said. "They're not going to quit. They kept fighting."
The Blue Devils were scheduled to visit American Conference foe Barberton Oct. 7. Results were not available at press time.
Tallmadge is set to host American Conference rival Highland Oct. 14 at 7 p.m.