It's never enjoyable to see players get injured, and that's never more true when you are talking about the high school and college levels. What happened to Marcus Lattimore of South Carolina evoked the same reaction from me as the injuries to local high school stars Mac Mueller of Rocori and Jacob Peterson of Tech.
Someone in my occupation has to look at the football aspect of those injuries - and I will - but a quick timeout to remember the human aspect of them. The first thing you hope for is that there aren't life-altering injuries. What I mean by that is when a young man has aspirations to turn football into a college scholarship or a professional career, major injuries (especially in your senior year) can be devastating. When Lattimore's knee was destroyed on ESPN last Saturday I tweeted that I sincerely hoped the player was taking full advantage of the education he was getting from his scholarship. You see so many young men put all their proverbial eggs in that one basket, and that's the tightest rope they can possibly walk.
You hope that a Mueller or a Peterson have made enough of an impression on college scouts in either football or another sport that an injury doesn't affect their college futures too much. I heard the boradcast on KNSI where Peterson broke his leg, and immediately thought of his long-term future beyond tech and beyond football. You hope the grades are good, since there's more to these young men than sports and there are academic scholarships as well. They are talented football players deserving of an opportunity at the next level, and the difference between a scholarship and having to pay for college is obviously huge.
The harshest reality of injuries in football is that the show must go on. In a previous blog entry, my Benchwarmers co-host Matt Wood introduced you to the three top football players in Central Minnesota. Mueller and Peterson were two of them, Sartell's Eric Macafee is the third. Two of those three schools are playing for sectional championships this week.
It's not a coincidence that a healthy Macafee has the Sabres set up for a Friday night matchup in Collegeville against Moorhead. Sartell held off the admirable story that is Apollo and can definitely take the 8AAAAA against the Spuds. Rocori is still playing as well, having to travel to the Fargodome to take on a tough Detroit Lakes team in 8AAAA Thursday night, but the Spartans can make alum Eric Decker proud with another strong team effort.