The injuries keep coming for the Bermudian Springs High football team.
Quarterback Michael Moore suffered a concussion in last Friday's game against Biglerville and hasn't practiced this week. He hasn't had any symptoms the last three days and has passed the required tests but still needs clearance to play.
Junior Ted Marines is the backup.
Eagles coach Jon Defoe is optimistic Moore will return for Friday's District 3 Class AA championship game against Wyomissing, scheduled for 7 p.m. at Hersheypark Stadium.
"Based on what he displayed Friday night," Defoe said, "I'm tickled to death to see where he is already."
The Eagles (12-0) are already without senior running back Zach Stroup, who broke his left collarbone against Biglerville. He finished with 190 carries for 1,280 rushing yards and 23 total touchdowns.
Starter Tristan Sponseller figures to receive many of the carries against Wyomissing (12-0), and backups Ryan Markle, returning from a broken right collarbone, and Landon Mohney will fill Stroup's role.
"I got confidence in those guys," Defoe said. "They can make plays. It's just tough at this point in the season to make a change like that. I think it will certainly impact a little bit the play calling, to make sure we're comfortable with what we're doing."
Making the task harder is Wyomissing star running back-linebacker Alex Anzalone, a 6-foot-3, 225-pound senior who has committed to Notre Dame after receiving more than 20 NCAA Division I scholarship offers. He has 79 carries for 917 yards, an average of 11.61 yards per attempt.
The Spartans were ranked No. 2 in Class AA, four spots ahead of the Eagles, in the latest EasternPAFootball.com state rankings. They have quarterback Grayson Helm, who is 58-of-89 (65.2 percent) with 1,137 passing yards and 15 touchdowns, and running back A.J. Nally, who has 770 yards on 112 carries.
"To be honest with you, I think it's unfair with the rest of the team," Defoe said. "Without (Anzalone), they're an extremely good team and a legitimate state contender. You add a kid like that, it puts you over the top.
"You can't over-commit three guys or two guys to one (on offense) because they have too many good players. It's just apply your role for what we're running and then execute. It starts with an attitude. You got to be in attack mode. You can't go down there in fear of him."
Sponseller is prepared for the challenge of rushing against Anzalone and trying to tackle him as one of the Eagles' linebackers.
"We just got to run hard and lower our shoulder and do everything that we normally would," Sponseller said. "Don't slow down for him because he's bigger and better. We've been having our whole team play well. If we keep doing that, I think we'll be OK."
Wyomissing has lost the district championship the last two years, and the Eagles haven't reached the game since beating Littlestown in 1998. The Spartans appear to be the favorite considering the Eagles' injuries.
"It's going to be a great challenge for us," Defoe said. "I love being in this position, where some people don't think you can do it."
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