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 Warriors’ 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 the 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.
The 2014 legacy
While Metea left Waubonsie 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 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.”
Geneva coach Rob Wicinski couldn’t believe his luck Saturday, waking up to beautiful weather for his team’s Class 7A playoff opener at home against Hersey, especially after the cold, blustery conditions Friday night.
“I told (Hersey coach Joe Pardun) I could hug him for sticking to his guns, because I was really pressing for a Friday night game,” Wicinski said.
If the two teams are not able to agree on a day for the game, IHSA policy is to let the visiting team make the call. The home team then decides the start time.
“This is gorgeous,” Wicinski said of the cool but sunny afternoon that featured very little wind. “This is what a Saturday afternoon game is supposed to look like.”
Band on the run
Wicinski went back to his roots, relying on the run in the 41-27 win. The Vikings piled up 446 total yards, 264 rushing.
“I feel comfortable (running the ball),” he said. “I’ve got weapons on the outside and I’ve got a bad habit. I get into the red zone and I like to pass the ball, and you can see what happens there but I’ve been doing it for 15 years.”
He was referring to a Daniel Santacaterina interception on the third-quarter possession after Hersey had tied the game at 27-all. It came at the Huskies’ 9-yard line when a throw to Pace Temple was tipped in the air by Cole Monckton and then grabbed by Will Trossen, who returned it 65 yards to the Geneva 26.
“Bad interception,” Wicinski said with a smile, “a little miscommunication there between boy wonder and superstar.”
Fortunately, the Vikings’ defense held on fourth down at the 29 and turned the ball back over to the offense.
Rick Armstrong contributed to this report