Some Beautiful Football, But Also Two Ugly Knee Injuries


Epps And Rainwater Likely Out For Season

October 03, 1990|By Gary Lambrecht

This, that and the other:

The football scene produced some notable accomplishments last week.

Another 270-yard rushing performance by Oakland Mills' Korey Singleton.

Another big day from Wilde Lake's Raphael Wall. A smashing return from a two-game suspension by Wildecats' quarterback Phil White. A one-man show by Mount Hebron quarterback/safety/kicker/punter Nathan Kealey.

Overall though, it wasn't such a good week, as the ugly side of football -- the ever-lurking serious knee injury -- struck hard.

In the space of about 18 hours, the county lost two of its better players to knee damage. Centennial halfback Mike Rainwater went down Thursday night early in the Eagles' 10-3 victory. The following afternoon Hammond quarterback Cliff Epps suffered the same fate in the fourth quarter of Hammond's 34-7 blowout at the hands of Wilde Lake.

Rainwater and Epps are seniors. Each is the best player on his team.

Each is likely gone for the season. Rainwater had surgery Saturday to repair extensive cartilage damage, and may even miss his final lacrosse season. The official word on Epps is due today, but his football and basketball seasons could be done.

"It looks like he (Epps) is out for the season. The knee is swollen.

They (doctors) found blood in it. He's in a lot of pain," said a shaken Joe Russo, Hammond's coach. "It's a real shame. He had a legitimate shot at a Division I scholarship."

Epps, who underwent arthroscopic surgery on the same (left) knee last spring, was hurt on a quarterback sneak with six minutes left in the game.

He was hit simultaneously by two Wilde Lake tacklers.

With Epps down, Hammond's (1-4) offense looks to be in dire straits. But Russo was thinking about more meaningful things than the standings.

"This is the first time -- knock on wood -- that I've ever lost a kid for the season," said the 12-year head coach. "I never think about it (losing a player to injury)."

Which prompts this inevitable hindsight speculation: With six minutes to go and the Bears hopelessly out of the game, why wasn't Epps, especially with his knee history, on the sidelines?

* So what's Korey Singleton going to do for his next encore?

The Oakland Mills running back broke a school record by rushing for 270 yards and four touchdowns on 40 carries in the Scorpions' 26-15 victory over South River two weeks ago. Singleton then one-upped himself Friday with a 272-yard performance on 20 carries and another four TDs in a 55-6 rout of Atholton.

"He's very deceiving. You look at him and you see a bruising fullback," said Oakland Mills coach Ken Hovet. "But he's got some real acceleration."

Singleton, who sat out the fourth quarter of the Atholton game, has gained 764 yards on 96 carries through four games, while scoring 10 TDs.

The way he's run the last two weeks, he could break the 1,000-yard barrier Saturday against Centennial.

And Singleton, also a linebacker/defensive back, hasn't missed a beat on defense, where he's recorded 12 solo tackles, 20 assists, two quarterback sacks and two interceptions.

* Wilde Lake and running back Raphael Wall show no signs of letting up.

Wall added 144 yards and another TD against Hammond, bringing his season totals to 702 yards on 49 carries and 11 TDs. Junior Damon Hamlin has added 343 yards and three TDs.

Quarterback Phil White, who missed the previous two games due to a disciplinary suspension, had quite a comeback party. He completed six of eight passes for 145 yards and three touchdowns -- all of them to wideout Oba McMillan. And how about McMillan? He's caught just four passes in four games, but is batting 1.000 with four TD catches.

"We want teams to have to prepare for the run and the pass against us," said Wilde Lake coach Doug DuVall. "We were working toward that near the end of last year. Now it's coming together."

DuVall has quite a flair for the understatement, don't you think?

* As the undefeated Wildecats and Scorpions careen toward their county title showdown, the teams have decided to scrap an interesting scheduling idea.

Coaches from each team began discussing several months ago the possibility of shifting the game -- scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 10 at Oakland Mills -- to Friday night, Nov. 9 at Cedar Lane Park. But before the idea reached the serious stages with the county's recreation department, it was nixed.

"The truth is we decided we want it as a home game. There's a good chance we'll both be 9-0 going into it, and we (Oakland Mills) want the home field," said Coach Hovet, who added he doesn't want to interrupt the Scorpions' weekly practice routine before such a big game.

"The kids are also strongly against it," he added. "I've lost my enthusiasm for it."

* One has to feel for Atholton's Don Van Deusen, one of the county's classier coaches and one of its best both between the sidelines (football) and the foul lines (baseball).

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