With quarterback out, Concordia looking for spark

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 24, 2007

The Selma Times-Journal

It’s been an eventful week for the Concordia football team.

Two blowouts at the hands of larger schools and key injuries have taken their toll on the Hornets.

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For quarterback Ken Johnson, the past 10 days have been especially brutal.

This past Tuesday, Johnson was to have worked out for NFL scouts. But a season-ending knee injury five days earlier against Tennessee Tech will put both his college career and his pro plans on hold.

“Something didn’t feel right after the game before at West Alabama, but I went to rehab and worked it out and it was fine,” Johnson said. “I was going out of bounds and slowing up, but the other guy kept coming. I put all my weight on one knee, and I heard a pop. Then I was just like, ‘Oh man, no.'”

Torn knee ligaments left the Hornets without the only starting quarterback they have known in three years.

After a disappointing offensive performance Saturday against Morehouse, coach Shepherd Skanes said he is “playing musical chairs” with his quarterbacks.

Backup Anthony Gibson started against the Tigers, with Antron Clark taking a handful of snaps under center.

Skanes’ take on the situation sounds almost like a TV movie: “Life After Ken Johnson.”

“The quarterback position for this team is wide open,” Skanes said. “As a coach, you hate to have a quarterback battle in the middle of the season. You want to have the job decided in the spring and be settled going into the season. Someone is going to have to step up. We have Tuskegee next game, and it’s not going to get any easier from here.”

Concordia had just 55 passing yards on a combined 9-for-21 attempts Saturday.

Against a Tuskegee team that regularly puts up 40 points against opponents, that won’t get it done.

Johnson’s role now is cheerleader and something of an assistant coach for the Hornets.

As for the NFL, that’s not something he’s given unnecessary thought to.

After all, he still has unfinished business in Selma.

“We’re trying to get a medical redshirt,” Johnson said. “I think the rules say the deadline is the fourth game, but since I didn’t finish the first half, we’re going to see what we can do. It looks pretty good.”

Skanes, meanwhile, is still looking for the spark that will get his team’s morale up where it needs to be.

He said his players are battered, bruised and looking for answers.

If answers are synonymous with wins, the rest of the season will be a steep uphill climb.

“Ken Johnson or not, players need to make plays,” Skanes said. “That’s what we’re here for. We can’t make any excuses, we just have to find a way. I hope somebody will step up for this team.”