Derby and Valley Center both could have their seasons drastically altered by potential season-ending injuries to key players suffered in Week 1.
Alex McGill, a senior linebacker and Derby’s only returner starter on defense from its state championship team, and Wyatt Lange, a senior quarterback at Valley Center, both suffered significant knee injuries last Friday. Both players are awaiting results from their MRI, but coaches at both schools think it’s likely their stars are done for the season.
On top of McGill’s knee injury, Derby’s all-state left tackle Evan Clark also suffered a leg injury and is expected to miss multiple games. Derby coach Brandon Clark said he expects Evan Clark to return this season, but it will be “a couple weeks.”
“That’s two of our five captains out,” Clark said before Friday’s showdown at Goddard. “It’s a pretty big loss for us to lose both of those guys. I know Evan plays on the line, but I view him as one of our best offensive players and McGill is our only returner on defense.”
Lange, an honorable mention all-state quarterback last season, injured his knee in the first half of Valley Center’s 12-7 victory over Salina South. Parker Schrater, a 5-foot-6, 125-pound junior, replaced Lange and completed 2 of 6 passes for 81 yards and a touchdown.
“It’s probably going to limit some of the things we were able to do with Wyatt in the quarterback run game,” Valley Center coach Caleb Smith said. “But as far as our base stuff goes, we’ll continue to do the same things. When you lose a guy like Wyatt that’s such a threat running or throwing, you’re obviously going to take a little bit of a step backward at first. But we’re hoping we can continue to rely on our defense and get the job done.”
Valley Center plays at Campus on Friday.