Coming home

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Big injury only drawback for Concordia in first home game

By George L. Jones

The Selma Times-Journal

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Here’s the good news for the Concordia football team: The first home game of the season is here, and not a moment too soon.

Here’s the bad news: The most devastating injury in the history of the program puts a cloud over things when the Hornets strap up for the first game in Memorial Stadium.

Quarterback Ken Johnson had a meeting with an orthopedic surgeon in Montgomery Wednesday morning to determine treatment for torn ligaments in his left knee.

Johnson, the two-time Southeastern Athletic Conference most valuable player, tore his ACL and MCL last Thursday against Tennessee Tech.

The team now has to make up for the loss of its most dynamic player.

That starts with a replacement at quarterback.

“Anthony Gibson is young; he’s come in and studied film,” coach Shepherd Skanes said of the team’s new starting quarterback. “He knows the bulk of the load falls on his shoulders. Tuesday in practice he had some good reads, and he had some bad reads. He tells me he’s ready, but we’ve got to feed him like a baby. We can’t throw him into the fire and expect him to know the reads and keys like Ken did.”

The pressure will be put on DeAngelo Surls and the running game to pick up the slack.

The defense, spotty at times and brilliant at others, also has its work cut out for it.

But it will still be without the services of defensive lineman Kenny Bennett, who is out with a shoulder injury.

The test will begin immediately with Morehouse, a team that has had a complete 180-degree turn since this time last year.

The Tigers (3-1) had won one game at this point last season.

Skanes expects a battle when the two teams tangle Saturday.

“That team is full of talent, and they’re going to be a well coached team,” Skanes said. “They’re coming well prepared. They haven’t put up the points, but they’ve been in defensive struggles each game I’ve seen.”

Right about now, the Hornets are ready to dress in their own locker room and look up and see fans they recognize.

“We’ve been getting killed in everybody else’s back yard, now we want to have fun playing the game we love in front of people we love,” Skanes said. “I hope the homefield advantage will carry over and help our guys’ morale. There’s nothing like being at home and hearing a commentator that’s on your side. Those little things count for so much, and that’s what we’re looking for.”