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Key Injuries to Haase, McColley Will Present New Challenges for Panthers
August 22, 2007 - Injuries to all-state candidates Trey McColley and Joe Haase in the season opener last Friday night against Centerville will force a considerable change in game plans for the Panthers this football season.
While Haase is expected to miss just one or two games, McColley could be lost for most of the season. The duo each scored a touchdown in the first half against Centerville, and are not just the best two offensive players on the football team. They are also the best two defensive players.
McColley went down with a broken foot midway through the second quarter, and Haase suffered his primary injury in the second half against Centerville. The earliest McColley, who rushed for 1,400 yards last season, will return is in about six-to-eight weeks. Haase is likely out at least a week.
“You hate to see any senior have something like that happen to them,” Coach Bob Prescott said. “Trey was going to have another great year, and Joe’s injury has to have time to heal. But our entire staff is in this for the kids more so than for winning games. We are not going to rush anyone back. We’ve got to have other kids willing to step up, and I believe we have those kids.”
McColley has been the leading tackler for the Panthers the last two seasons, and was the leading tackler on the 2005 team that went 14-1 and played in the RCA Dome for a state title. Being the team’s leading rusher as well, his loss is a big hit for the Panthers.
Haase will miss this week’s game at Hagerstown, and could possibly return the following week against Wes-Del.
“I think we can still be a very successful football team,” Prescott said. “We believe in these guys, and I was very proud of the way they played against Centerville.”
The Panthers controlled the ball on offense, keeping the pigskin for nearly 15 minutes in the second half. They dominated the Bulldogs on defense, doing both without the services of McColley and Haase.
“I don’t think you’ll find one person hanging their head right now,” Prescott said. “This is a team game and we’ve stressed that from day one. I know it’s going to hurt those two when Friday night comes around and they aren’t playing, but both of them are still going to be playing a role. They’ll be on the sidelines providing leadership and encouraging their teammates.”
Haase originally said after the game he would immediately return to the playing field. But Saturday morning it was realized his ankle sprain was worse than originally thought.
McColley was especially proud of his younger teammates following their gutsy win over a veteran Bulldog team.
“I’ve got 100 percent respect for these young kids,” McColley said. “They played hard and gave it their all, and I know they’ll keep doing that. They picked it up and played like men and they can keep doing that.”
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