Worn warriors

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 7, 2006

Banged up Senators’ first tough test comes against Cottage Hill

By George L. Jones

The Selma Times-Journal

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It’s almost becoming too tiring to talk about.

As the numbers in the win column continue to pile up for Morgan Academy, the stock of bodies on the injured list also rises.

The Senators beat Monroe last Friday in a 32-0 win, but lost two more players.

John Ellis and Umang Patel were hurt during the game, although they’re not season-ending injuries.

Coach Robert Gartman said the result of the last contest was what he’d hoped for, not necessarily what he expected.

But games will be a lot harder to win with fewer players to work with.

“It’s not a concern at this point,” Gartman said when asked about the durability of his healthy players. “About the fifth or sixth game, I think it’ll become a factor. I’ll quit being so pigheaded and ease up on them in practice. We used to go 20-22 on offense and switch up and 16-18 on defense. That’s definitely not the case right now. We’ve got about 15-16 on offense and eight on defense.

They’re pretty worn out by the time practice is over because they don’t have anybody to swap with.”

The laundry list of key players lost is staggering. As of now, the Senators are without their starting left tackle, left guard, right tight end, both halfbacks, their backup halfback, a flanker, both defensive tackles, both safeties and a cornerback.

Almost anywhere else, there’d be trouble putting a legal amount of people on the field.

The attitudes of the players have not changed, however.

At least, not for the worst.

“They’re rallying around each other right now,” Gartman said. “We’ve been really pleased. They’re doing everything that’s asked of them. We’ve done some simulation in practice. It’s kind of like kids playing backyard baseball, and they have to pretend there’s a runner on second and a runner on third.

“We’re having to pretend there’s a defensive back where there isn’t one.”

The game this week against Cottage Hill is a critical one, Gartman said, because a win all but assures Morgan a spot in the playoffs.

“Every win after that will be a move up the ladder,” he said.