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Archive for Tuesday, November 1, 2005

QB again injured for state

November 1, 2005

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— They are two of the oldest cliches in the sports world.

"What a difference a day makes."

"It's dejà vu, all over again."

Trouble is, they both say it best when discussing the postseason career of Baldwin High quarterback Jeremy Wright.

After leading the Bulldogs past rival Eudora on Thursday, clinching a district championship and a home playoff game, Wright woke up the next morning with a right foot so swollen and sore he couldn't put any pressure on it, much less take the reins of a wishbone offense.

On Monday, an MRI disclosed the injury, while nothing serious, would keep the senior signal-caller out of tonight's Class 4A bi-district showdown against Prairie View at Baker University's Liston Stadium.

It's the second straight season Wright and playoff football have formed an unstable marriage. Last fall, he broke his leg during Baldwin's bi-district victory over Louisburg.

"That's the thing about football. You're one play away from being taken out of the game because of injury," said Baldwin coach Mike Berg, who did a good job keeping his composure in the wake of receiving the troubling news Friday.

"I said, 'You need to get it checked out.' My first concern is Jeremy, and I know his first concern is our team. He's a competitor, and I know he was in pain if he couldn't walk."

Wright doesn't know how or when the injury occurred, offering up a guess that it must have happened during the first half of Baldwin's 35-20 victory over the Cardinals.

"I felt it in the warm-ups at halftime. I didn't think anything of it," Wright said. "I felt it a little bit during the game, but I didn't think anything about it. I had the adrenalin going."

Unfortunately for Wright, the natural high of playoff football won't be enough to get him on the field tonight. Neither Wright nor Berg would disclose the exact nature of the injury, only to both say they expect him to be available should the Bulldogs (8-1) beat Prairie View and advance to Saturday's regional round.

To do that, the Baldwin offense will turn to junior Blake Wieden - the same player who replaced Wright when he went down in last season's playoffs.

That experience - as well as plenty of mop-up time this fall during Baldwin blowouts - should come in handy for a quarterback being asked to fill the shoes of someone who's accounted for 1,509 yards of total offense and 20 touchdowns this season.

"I've been here before. I know what to expect in the playoff atmosphere," Wieden said. "It's big shoes to fill. Still, I'm confident."

Wieden and the Bulldogs will have the luxury of getting their playoff feet wet against arguably the most favorable opponent in the upper half of the Class 4A bracket. Prairie View enters the postseason just 3-6, with one of those losses a 41-14 setback Oct. 7 at Baldwin.

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