Football faces washburn, injuries

Andrew Ford

The Lions will line up against a Washburn team (3-2, 1-2 MIAA) without a big group of starters this Saturday at home against the Ichabods.

Among the injuries sustained this season is starting tail back Toderick Hunt, who suffered a back spasm while doing a hang clean on Tuesday.

“Evidently the strength of that spasm pulled a rib out of place,” Tatum said.

According to Tatum the rib has since been put back in place, but he doesn’t know whether Hunt will be able to play this weekend.

Starting sophomore left guard Raul Sanchez also had uncontrollable back spasms. Tatum said Sanchez is un-functional and is unlikely to play this weekend.

Also sidelined for the Lion offense is starting tight end Korie Henry, who has a serious knee issue and is unlikely to start this Saturday.

Injured starting fullback Anthon Aiono will also not compete Saturday.

Southern’s top linebacker, starting weak side linebacker Antwan Dyer who has a broken leg and is doubtful for rest of year.

Marcus Cook, who started the season behind Dyer as weak side linebacker on the depth chart also won’t be playing this week after tearing knee ligaments.

Another starting linebacker who will be missing is strongside Rudy Mascaro. He hasn’t practiced this week due to back issues and is very doubtful for Saturday.

Starting defensive tackle David Benham is out with a bad shoulder and according to Tatum is in “a lot of pain.”

Also an anchor of the defensive line, starting defensive end Brandon Williams is out with a shoulder issue. His status won’t be known until later in the week.

Big 330-pound defensive lineman Clarence Leverette didn’t play last week due to disciplinary reasons, but this week is fighting a bad ankle and will be a game time decision Tatum said.

“You can tell we’re getting near the second half of the regular season looking at our injury reports,” he said.

The Lions will go up against a Washburn defense that is OK in defending against the run and the pass, but not great at either.

Still, they do a good job at limiting points and are third in the conference at 21.4 per game.

Additionally the Ichabods are sixth in total defense, pass defense and rush defense.

“Missouri Western is giving everybody fits and they found a way to beat them at home last Saturday,” Tatum said.

Washburn was ranked in the beginning of the season and Tatum said he believes they’ll be facing a team that’s still worthy of being in the top in the country.

“I think we’re playing a team that’s a top 25 caliber football team.”

The Ichabod’s will run a variation of the ‘Wild Hog offense,’ which will use direct snaps to the running back.

Skyler Vandiver, starting strong safety said that Emporia has good route runners that are very fast.

“They [Emporia] have a lot of looks that will hurt you,” he said.

After two losses, last week’s 19-18 road win against Emporia State has given Southern new energy at practices.

“Everyone was flying around the football field, there was good spirit out there,” Tatum said.

Chris Norris, junior offensive lineman said the Lions must “get back on the winning track. It doesn’t have to be pretty.”

When asked about whether Homecoming week can be a distraction, Tatum said there’s a lot of activities for the team, but nothing that will get in the way of the football game.

“It’s not anything that’s going to distract from our preparations,” he said.