Already depleted by injuries, Quitman took another big blow with the loss of junior quarterback Walker Johnson in Friday’s 54-0 loss to Magnet Cove on Friday night in 5-2A Conference play at Bulldog Stadium.
Johnson went down late in the first half with a reoccurring shoulder injury after absorbing a hard hit.The junior had rehabbed his shoulder all summer in preparation to lead the Bulldogs this season, but the repaired damage came loose on the play.
“They are still getting it evaluated,” said Quitman Coach Fritz Heidenreich. “They are not sure when they are going to have the surgery, but if he does have the surgery it will take him about six months before he will be back to full recovery. They are going to meet and see because he was planning on playing basketball and baseball”
The Bulldogs shifted sophomore receiver Trevor Willliams to quarterback for the second half of Friday’s game.
“We are going to move our receiver Trevor Williams to quarterback and another one of our receivers Nathaniel Reynolds to back-up quarterback,” said Heidenreich.
Quitman started the season with 19 players on its roster and that has dwindled to 15 with the loss of senior linebacker Hadley Martin, junior receiver Royce Katzer, Johnson and senior wideout Michael McRae, who is out this week and could miss the remainder of the season.
Heidenreich said he and the staff have decided to stay with the 15-player roster rather than moving some talented freshmen up to the varsity level.
The Junior Bulldogs, who have a record of 5-1 including 4-0 in league play, are chasing a 5-2A Conference championship.
“We’ve already made the decision not to [bring anybody up]. We are going to let them have a good season. We don’t want to ruin their season by pulling people up. If we had a shot to make the playoffs it would be different,” added Heidenreich.
The visiting Panthers, which improved 4-1-1 overall and 3-0 in league play, rolled up 340 total yards, including 254 on the ground and 86 through the air.
Magnet Cove held Quitman (1-5, 0-3) to 122 yards of offense ¬ 69 passing and 53 rushing.
Johnson finished 6 of 16 for 66 yards with two interceptions. The Bulldogs also lost three fumbles. Williams led the Bulldogs’ offense with two receptions for 24 yards, while also rushing nine times for 52 yards after taking over at quarterback.
Sophomore running back Chris Milam added 17 yards on 10 carries, plus a 25-yard reception. Sophomore receiver Nathaniel Reynolds had two receptions for 17 yards.
Defensively, senior defensive tackle Jacob Carr and Milam paced the Bulldogs with six tackles, while senior defensive end John David Ward, sophomore defensive end Darrick Sullivan and junior defensive end Ty Davis each tallied five stops. Williams contributed an interception.
Page 2 of 2 - Quitman resumes conference play on Friday at 7 p.m. Conway Christian. The Eagles, who lead the overall series 4-1, hold a record of 2-4 including 2-1 in 5-2A Conference play.
(Editor’s note: Stats and information courtesy of Quitman Football Foundation’s Dan Lichoff.)