Rockets stay resilient while faced with injuriesPublished 10:45am Friday, November 15, 2013
When quarterback Adam Creek went down in the second half of Thursday’s state semifinal with a cramp in his leg, the entire city of Underwood held its collective breath.
“It was just that I could get back in the game,” Creek commented on what was going through his head as he lay on his back with the team’s trainer stretching his leg on the field of the Metrodome. “I knew the guys could hold them on defense, so I wasn’t worried about that.”
On the very first snap after he walked off the field with some help from trainers, the Rockets lost the ball on a fumbled snap. But, as he predicted, the Rocket defense kept Ely out of the end zone.
It was just one of the many examples of the Underwood Rockets ability to overcome the bumps and bruises that come with the playoffs extending their season well into November. The Rockets have fought injuries all season and have had players out of pads and on the sidelines. Injuries were another theme Thursday.
Despite showing a slight limp on a few plays, Creek returned to the quarterback position and helped grind out the last minutes of the game with the Rockets running attack. His return couldn’t come a minute too soon, as the state’s leading rusher Noah Thompson sat for the final minutes of the game with heavy bruising on his arm.
The trio of Creek, Matt Biegler and Dylan Kalenze took over in Thompson’s absence, running effectively at the line and around the outside with the option.
While he was in and out of the game, Thompson credited the Underwood line with another big game moving the defensive front and making it easier for the backs to run.
“Our lines doing a really good job making their blocks and holding them back, and that really helps,” Thompson said.
The most prominent injury all year has been senior Austin Montgomery’s torn ACL. He missed the entire regular season because of the injury, but played the last three games for the Rockets at linebacker. Against Nicollet, however, Montgomery aggravated the injury and did not suit up against Ely in the semifinal.
Even with the injury, Montgomery fell right back into his regular-season role, leading from the sideline.
“As a captain, showing that I can lighten everyone’s mood by keeping my mood up even though I’m out, it’s awesome,” Montgomery said. “It’s just awesome to see all these guys come together.”
With one more game left on the schedule, Montgomery and the Rockets have one last chance to prove their resilience. The two week break gives plenty of time for their bodies to heal. Montgomery and Thompson plan to be back on the field for the state championship.