Cowboys, injuries too much for Wolverines
MALVERN - A physical Sidney squad and a slew of injuries were too much for East Mills to overcome in a physical, 70-32 loss to the Cowboys in Eight-player, District 10 football Friday in Malvern.
If the Cowboys’ dynamic duo of quarterback Grant Whitehead and running back Michael Hensley – they had a hand in eight touchdowns in the win – weren’t hard enough for East Mills coach Kevin Schafer to deal with, his team’s lack of depth sealed the Wolverines’ first loss of the season.
An already depth-challenged squad was down to 14 players due to in-game injuries that left the Wolverines playing backups and first-year starters all over the field.
“Our depth is…nothing,” he said. “This pretty much confirms we won’t play JV. We get a couple more kids hurt and next thing we know we’re throwing bodies out there (on varsity) that are our JV kids. We can’t risk getting more kids hurt on a Monday (JV game) we’ll need Friday (varsity).”
The biggest of the Wolverines losses was starting quarterback Zach Thornburg who was lost for the season after suffering a first half shoulder injury.
“My biggest fear was our blocking and speed. They whipped us up front. Last week, West Harrison has bigger guys up front but they were slower but they (Sidney) were too much for us. We couldn’t send out four receivers like we used to. We need them to block.”
With Thornburg out, Schafer handed the reigns to backup Caleb Urban, a junior who had mostly played wide receiver this season.
“He did a good job,” Schafer said. “We had to throw fast because we didn’t have a lot of time for him to throw guys open. He had one bad throw in the corner on the interception but overall, I thought he did fine and ran well.”
Urban finished his night 13-of-27 passing for 122 yards and three touchdowns. He also added 68 yards rushing and another score.
East Mills hung with the Cowboys for much of the first half, leading 18-12 mid-way through the second quarter before Whitehead and Hensley heated up. Sidney would go on to score on its next four possessions to take a 48-24 lead with two minutes to go in the third quarter.
Hensley finished his night with 185 yards rushing and 182 yards receiving with five total touchdowns. Whitehead completed 12-of-16 passes for 286 yards and four TDs while adding 131 yards rushing and a TD.
East Mills’ Jackson Embree hauled in eight passes for 62 yards and a touchdown to help the offense. Defensively, the junior also wrapped up 11 tackles and recovered a fumble on defense.
East Mills hosts Cumberland-Anita-Messina in a non-district game Friday in Malvern at 7 p.m.