Upon Further Review: Injuries mar Week 6 of high school football
Week 6 of the high school football season was a painful one for some of our area teams.
Injuries are a part of football, and sports in general. There’s no denying that.
But when they occur with some of our top student-athletes and leaders in our communities, the situation is especially tenuous.
Such was the case for both Clinton and Walworth Big Foot on Friday night. Both teams lost their starting senior quarterbacks—for Big Foot, Jackson Enz, a two-time state track and field champion, and for Clinton, Tyler Halsted, a three-year starting quarterback.
The extent of their injuries likely won’t be completely known until after the weekend.
“Everybody’s got to have a trigger-man, you just do,” said Greg Enz, Big Foot’s coach and Jackson’s father, on the potential of losing a starting quarterback. “If you don’t, you’re in trouble in high school football.”
Interestingly enough, both teams persevered without their starting signal-callers to win their road games. Clinton held off Turner 7-6, and Big Foot scored a 28-22 overtime victory at McFarland.
For Clinton, Halsted went down late in the first half on a scamper up the middle. He was tackled awkwardly, and initially, head coach Jeff Spiwak said, fears were that he had fractured his leg. After taping up his ankle at halftime, Halsted attempted some light jogging on the sideline but could not continue.
Clinton’s staff put its heads together and decided to run a wildcat offense the entire second half. Results were mixed, but the Cougars did get the chains moving on a long fourth-quarter drive that allowed them to hang on.
“With them (Clinton) running an option-based power base, now you’re just power, and if all I know you’re able to do is that, you’re able to sit on a team a little better,” Enz said.
Jackson Enz’s injury, believed to be to his knee, occurred in the fourth quarter, after his pass to A.J. Courier tied the game at 22-22. Enz also had an open run and was taken down awkwardly by a defender shedding a block.
Greg Enz turned to backup Logan Eischeid, and McFarland put the heat on right away. The Chiefs adjusted accordingly and began throwing short passes, and they won in overtime when Eischeid connected with Hunter Sharpe from five yards out.
“Logan did an admirable job,” Greg Enz said. “You’ve got to go to the drawing board. We tried to throw the stuff that Jackson would normally throw, and they were blitzing. He might have been 0 for 5 or 6 on his first passes, and we decided we needed to go quick with everything.”
For Clinton, the third-ranked team in the state in Division 5, Friday’s victory meant a 6-0 mark and sole possession of first place in the Rock Valley Conference. The Cougars’ final three opponents have a combined three wins this season.
For Big Foot, Friday’s win meant keeping playoff hopes alive. The Chiefs are 2-4 with three weeks remaining.
Hopefully both players, and their teams, get good news this week. And whatever the case may be, here’s to speedy recoveries.
Sun Prairie, Middleton and Madison West have all clinched postseason berths out of the Big Eight, and I feel confident calling Verona a lock at this point at 4-2. How many more can squeak in? Janesville Craig, Madison La Follette and Madison Memorial have some sorting out to do over the next three weeks.
Jefferson joined Clinton and Turner in clinching a spot out of the Rock Valley, while Badger became the first team to clinch a spot out of the Southern Lakes with its 4-0 start. Monona Grove and Stoughton are both unbeaten overall and in the Badger South and have wrapped up their playoff spots.
Eric Schmoldt is the sports editor of The Gazette. Reach him at email@example.com.
Last updated: 11:39 pm Saturday, September 23, 2017