Bermudian Springs High senior running back Zach Stroup sat crestfallen on the bench as the final minutes ticked away during his team's 34-14 District 3 Class AA playoff win Friday night against Biglerville.
Thanks everyone for the get well wishes, unfortunately my season is over, but I will be your number one fan love you guys #family— Zach Stroup (@Stroupy31) November 17, 2012
Fans behind him began chanting "Hershey, Hershey" -- the site of next week's District 3 Class AA championship game against Wyomissing -- but as Stroup stood up and began slowly walking to the locker room, he knew he likely wouldn't play there. Stroup had broken his left collarbone in the middle of the fourth quarter.
"He's extremely disappointed," Eagles coach Jon Defoe said. "I'm extremely disappointed for him."
Stroup's season ends with 22 touchdowns and 190 rushes for 1,280 yards. The injury places more emphasis on junior Tristan Sponseller, who has 195 carries for 1,095 yards, and backups Landon Mohney and Ryan Markle.
Oddly enough, Markle fractured his right collarbone in Week 3. He isn't fully healthy, so the Eagles are going to limit him.
Markle knows the feeling Stroup is experiencing.
"Breaking it and having to stand on the sideline and watch, it was terrible," Markle said. "Being out my sophomore year was a very bad feeling. It makes me feel bad for him because he was doing so well."
Markle began throwing a football with his brother and teammate, Brandon, after about two weeks and set a goal about four weeks after the injury to return for the playoffs.
Stroup's broken collarbone was the Eagles' third such injury of the season. Another player tore an ACL and another an MCL.
"It's been unreal," Defoe said. "A little disappointed to think where we might be if we had all of our bodies capable."
The injury ends a season in which Stroup had shown drastic improvement after not playing much last year.
"I knew all along he was a talented kid," Defoe said. "He had the ability. The biggest thing this year was he ran with a much more aggressive mentality and really started to make that cut. He had to learn everything wasn't to the outside.
"He got better and better with each passing week. He certainly had a big year for us."
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