WASHINGTON, Pa. (93-7 THE FAN) — The news from the biggest name on the Little Prexies was sobering, as top WPIAL recruit Shai McKenzie tweeted he will have surgery to repair a torn ACL, missing the rest of the 2013 season.
He had already run for three touchdowns in what would eventually become a 66-10 crushing of Charleroi at Cougar Stadium. He was running for another when, as he later described it, he heard something pop out in the open field. He had to be helped off the field.
According to head coach Mike Bosnic, the injury did not initially appear as serious as first feared after McKenzie was examined first by team trainers, then again at a nearby hospital Friday, as no structural damage was found. However, an MRI Monday morning confirmed the tear.
McKenzie prematurely ends his senior season with 650 yards and 11 touchdowns in two-plus games. In a Week 2 win over Southmoreland he broke Brian Davis’ school record for career rushing yards.
In a season-opening 26-14 victory over Greensburg Central Catholic, McKenzie became the 54th member of the WPIAL to break 4,000 career yards.
After barely missing the WPIAL single-season record set by Rushel Shell last year, McKenzie said before the 2013 season it was his goal to break 3,000.
Even though he won’t get a fair chance to reach that lofty goal, his raw talent and bravado should still be more than enough to impress college coaches. McKenzie says, after speaking to a number of them in the past 24 hours, none of his offers have been pulled.
To use one analogy, a season-ending leg injury to top area recruit Mike Caputo of West Allegheny early in the 2010 season did not deter his career. Caputo is presently a starting defensive back at Wisconsin.
McKenzie, as a junior, led the WPIAL with 2,689 yards, averaging well over 11 per carry, and finished second in the district with 42 total touchdowns while leading Washington to a Class AA Interstate Conference title and a berth in the district Double-A final at Heinz Field.
He is rated the No. 3 running back in the state and No. 13 in the nation by 247Sports, and he plans to withhold his college decision until National Letter of Intent Day this approaching Feb. 5.
Prior to his injury there was some speculation Florida State, one of many FBS programs to offer McKenzie, had lost interest, but that remains unconfirmed. In no particular order, McKenzie names the ‘Noles, Pitt, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, and Arkansas as his top five.
In the meantime, sophomores Kurt Adkins and Jordon West and junior Malik Wells fall behind him on the Prexies’ depth chart. Adkins has 61 yards and one touchdown on six carries, West 27 yards and two TD’s on nine carries, and Wells 23 yards and two scores on six carries.
“I think he has never really been hurt before. I like he thinks he is like Superman. I think he was more scared and upset than anything,” Bosnic told Mike White of the Post-Gazette. “We’ve got the athletes. We’ll turn this into a positive.”
For more, tune into “The Fan High School Football Roundup” with White and MSA Sports’ Don Rebel Saturday at 7:00 A.M.
Washington (3-0, 3-0), sitting at No. 12 in the latest MaxPreps Southwestern Pennsylvania Top 25 rankings, hosts Interstate rival Yough (2-1, 2-1) at 7:00 Friday.
(Contact me at email@example.com and/or follow me on Twitter @mpopchock.)