Injuries reinforce teams’ need for depth
Northwest coach Steve Martin walked off the field on Sept. 28 after a 47-point loss to Bishop Carroll and detailed the various injuries that had kept nine starters from playing in the game.
Karol Williams and Keyton Thomas, each out with a broken collar bone. Christian Sanders, broken femur. Dakota Dilsaver, torn anterior cruciate ligament. Brendan Johnson, torn thumb ligaments. Seth Simpson, torn hip flexor.
Tuesday night at practice, Derwin Barnett broke a hand and Dylan Brazell broke an ankle.
“I don’t know if you really count on any of these happening,” Martin said. “These are freak things.… You’re going to have sprains, some stingers in shoulders, pinched nerves in shoulders. Knees will be banged up a little bit. That’s all things that you will have. We don’t talk that we’ll have a broken femur.”
Yet injuries are a part of football, albeit a frustrating and sometimes devastating part.
“You just hope you don’t have a season-ending injury to a starter,” El Dorado coach Dustin Dooley said. “You know you’ll have two or three guys out, maybe more for multiple weeks. It’s something you prepare for and you have to develop depth.”
Against Mulvane on Sept. 21, El Dorado was missing three of five starting linemen.
Hutchinson was down nine starters for the Rockhurst game on Sept. 14, down eight in the loss to Salina South.
In 2011, Derby had ridiculous depth at quarterback – three deep – and used every single one en route to a Class 6A semifinal loss to Heights. The Panthers lost six starters from the final game of the regular season until that semifinal game.
Heading into Friday’s game at Hutchinson, Derby was down five. Quarterback Chandler Shantz left the game in the fourth quarter with an injury, and defensive lineman Conner Littleton was taken off in an ambulance late in the game. Derby Coach Brandon Clark later said Littleton was OK.
“It’s something you deal with,” Clark said of injuries. “Records don’t show it, but we beat up on each other in our league (the Ark Valley-Chisholm Trail Division I). We’re seeing a lot of good teams, and when you see good teams, you get a little banged up. It’s part of football. It’s why you try to develop your twos (backups) and your younger guys.”
Martin thought Northwest would be OK after Sanders’ injury ended his season in the preseason scrimmage. Northwest still had Williams and Johnson and Deron Thompson.
Now the Grizzlies are down to Thompson.
El Dorado lost its starting running back, Tyson Jones, on the first play of the second game. Since then, the Wildcats have struggled to establish any consistency in its running game.
The lack of a solid running back has caused El Dorado problems once it has advanced inside the opponents’ 20. The Wildcats are struggling to score.
“When you don’t have depth, you’re putting in guys who are junior varsity players against the top teams in the state,” Dooley said. “It’s tough. You plan for it. You know it will happen, but you hope it won’t.”