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Archive for Saturday, October 3, 1992

INJURIES DEVASTATE VIKINGS

October 3, 1992

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Shawnee Mission West's starting quarterback was a second-stringer.

He went out with an injury, so the third-stringer the Vikings' second-string tailback took over. Naturally that moved the No. 1 fullback to tailback.

And that was just in the backfield.

"It's been a terrible week," SM West coach Dave Smith said after the Vikes' 42-7 football loss to top-ranked Lawrence High on Friday night at Haskell Stadium. "When our third quarterback went out, we were out of quarterbacks. We're a little short."

The Vikings have been hit hard by injuries. Their top QB, senior Clark Jones, was lost for the season, so Smith promoted junior Dale Gilner, who missed half of last year with an injury.

GILNER HURT his elbow late in the first quarter against LHS, so starting tailback Dan Irwin the No. 2 tailback, subbing for the injured Matt Badgett took over.

Irwin suffered cramps late, and Gilner returned.

"I know they're pretty beat up," LHS coach Dick Purdy said.

That's an understatement, Smith said. The Vikes came to Haskell without nine regulars and three starters, but their short-handedness, Smith said, wasn't an excuse.

"Lawrence played like we thought they would," he said. "They ran the football and really played well on offense. I know they've struggled some this year. I talked to coach Purdy last Saturday, and I said, `I hope it lasts one more week.' They got it put together."

THE TOP-RANKED Lions gained 437 total yards, 202 yards more than the Vikings' season average. The loss was SM West's worst this year.

"I think it's a pretty good win," Purdy said, "considering everybody else has just been scraping by Shawnee Mission West."

The Vikings entered allowing just seven points a game, second behind LHS in the Sunflower League. Only once, in a 14-7 loss to Olathe North, had they allowed more than a touchdown a game.

"It was the offense's turn to turn it on," LHS senior Pat Eckert said. "They got into it."

Eckert got into the LHS offense late. A backup fullback, Eckert carried twice, once for a 45-yard touchdown.

"I'm still excited," Eckert said. "I play mostly defense, but they let me play around a little bit on offense. I'm not a star by any means."

On his TD run, Eckert burst through the line, spun away from one tackler and outlumbered two defenders for his first varsity football score.

"I WAS SCARED," Eckert said with a laugh. "I was hit, but I somehow got away. Then I saw two guys coming after me. It was like a hippo with two deer running at him. But Cimarron Evans laid down a good block.

"I was counting down, 20, 15, 10. It was like the little train: I think I can, I think I can. It was the longest run of my career. Afterward, I wanted to get a drink of water, but they wouldn't let me. I didn't mind, though, because I could get water any time. I loved it."

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