Sports can be downright cruel when a kid who works his tail off throughout the regular season suddenly finds himself battling an injury in the first round of the playoffs.
That was the unfortunate case of Waubonsie Valley senior Tony Durns. He rushed for 100 yards or more in eight of the team’s regular-season games, but was limited to only three carries and negative yardage Saturday in the first-round victory against Metea Valley.
“Tony didn’t practice all week. He kept getting treatment, treatment, treatment and it was going to be a game-time decision,” Waubonsie coach Paul Murphy said. “He wanted to play and we gave him a couple plays out there and he just didn’t look right.”
It’s more than just an ankle injury that Durns is battling. The tendon on the top of his foot that runs to his big toe is giving him his biggest trouble.
“It’s the flexing up and down that’s giving him problems,” Murphy said. “The doctor originally said it would be two weeks, but because of how his body handled the treatment all week, the doctor gave him the green light to try it.”
The good news for Durns and the No. 12 Warriors is that rest throughout the week should help him recover for this weekend’s second-round game against No. 8 Naperville Central.
Another Redhawks rally
Football coaches generally like to live in the present and usually don’t like to talk about what happened last year, but sometimes those past experiences serve as great motivation for the task at hand.
Naperville Central coach Mike Stine used such a tactic in Friday’s 34-21, first-round win over visiting Brother Rice.
During last year’s Class 8A semifinals, the Redhawks trailed Marist 21-7 late in the third quarter. On Friday, they trailed twice by 14 points before rallying in the second half.
“Coach [Mike Stine] brought up Marist from last year,” senior running back Kevin Clifford said. “We were down the exact same score and there was no stopping the Redhawks.”
Next stop, Terre Haute
Neuqua Valley quarterback Broc Rutter played his final game Friday for the Wildcats, but he likely won’t be forgotten for a long time as he shattered several school records as the starter the past two seasons.
Rutter holds a handful of program standards, including career completions (230), touchdown passes (52) and passing yards (4,131). Essentially, he’s thrown for nearly 2.4 miles.
He’s committed to Indiana State University, where he’ll play for coach Mike Sanford, who was a quarterback at USC in the mid-1970s. The Sycamores are currently 6-3.
The 2014 legacy
While Metea Valley left Waubonsie Valley sad and disappointed after a 21-14 loss Saturday, what the Mustangs’ seniors and other players will remember most is the road they took to become the first team in school history to make the postseason.
“It’s really been these seniors, and they’ve invested so much and are the most talented group we’ve had,” Metea Valley coach Ben Kleinhans said. “They got us over the hump and finished laying the foundation for the program. Now it’s up to everyone else to build it now.”
A new era will also begin next fall when the Mustangs join the DuPage Valley Conference.
“We’re close, but we’ve got to figure out how to beat some teams down the road and in our area,” Kleinhans said. “It’s a very exciting time for our program but that doesn’t make (this loss) feel any better.”