By Jim Henry
Globe Sports Editor
Late-season injuries have taken their toll on Carl Junction and Mount Vernon as they prepare for today’s 7 p.m. Big 8 Conference contest in Carl Junction.
The Bulldogs (2-5, 2-3 Big 8) are down to one healthy tailback.
Nick Thompson, the Bulldogs’ rushing leader with 587 yards and seven touchdowns, suffered a broken collarbone in last week’s loss to Seneca and will miss the rest of the season. Aaron Moore, who has rotated with Thompson the last two seasons, has moved to Catoosa, Okla.
Sophomore Nick Kennedy’s broke a leg during a junior varsity game, and sophomore Keynan Scheurich suffered a hip injury two weeks ago.
That leaves Lucas Hertzberg, 150-pound sophomore, as the Bulldogs’ lone healthy tailback. Chris Whelan, 190 junior, has practiced at the position after playing tight end all season. He’s expected to see action at both spots tonight.
“We’re good at the fullback position. We have five of them who can play,” coach Jesse Wall quipped.
Along the offensive line, guard Matt Kersey will not play this week (knee injury) but could return next week, and tackle Zack Beyer has been ill during this week.
“What it comes down to, it’s not about injuries,” Wall said. “It’s about executing plays like we can play. We haven’t played well for three weeks. We played pretty well for the first four games of the season, but the last three games we have gone just the opposite direction.
“It’s about going out and taking responsibility for how we play and performing well on Friday nights.”
Mount Vernon quarterback Alex Hausman suffered a hip injury on the final play of last week’s 20-14 victory over Aurora and will not play tonight.
Jacob LaSalle, 180 freshman, takes over at quarterback for the Mountaineers (5-2, 3-2). His quarterback experience this season has come in junior varsity games and mop-up duty in varsity games.
Running back Shane Williams, 185 senior, needs 14 rushing yards to reach 1,000 for the season — 129 carries for 986 yards and 11 TDs.
“He’s a tough kid, a smart kid,” Mountaineers coach Ozzie Riley said. “He’s just an athlete, not just in football but in basketball and track as well. The kid knows what it takes to get the job done.
“Shane has been our go-to guy all year. We run a spread offense, and we’ll try to get the ball to as many people as we can.”
“Breaking down film, it looks like about 70 percent of their offense runs through him,” Wall said. “They have a couple of other good athletes to go with him, which makes it even that much more difficult.”
Bulldogs quarterback Dustin Satterlee has averaged 176 yards passing this season, hitting 97-of-162 attempts for 1,231 yards and 10 scores. His top two targets have been Matt Magee (32 catches for 402 yards and five TDs) and J Thomas (26 for 354, one TD).
“Carl Junction has had some trouble the last couple of weeks,” Riley said. “Last week against Seneca ... we had trouble with Seneca. This should be a decent football game.”
“It comes down to who wants to win the game the most,” Wall said. “Hopefully that will be us.”