HERSHEY -- The game was painful to watch for Zach Stroup as he stood on the sidelines Friday night at Hersheypark Stadium.
His left arm hiding in a sling underneath his Bermudian Springs letterman's jacket, he couldn't help but feel helpless as Wyomissing steamrolled the Eagles, 44-0, to win the District 3 Class AA championship.
Bermudian Springs entered with some of its most important skill players questionable, at best, suffering injuries from an undefeated season and tough semifinal matchup with Biglerville a week ago.
"It certainly was a challenge, but that is football and that's life. It didn't change this outcome," Bermudian Springs coach Jon Defoe said.
Stroup knew he wasn't going to be on the field all week. The senior running back felt his left clavicle pop late in the third quarter against Biglerville and immediately knew he would miss Friday night's game.
Emotionally, it's always another story.
Who wants to spend the last football game of his high school career in blue jeans?
"It didn't really hit me until we got here, and I saw the stadium and saw the fans and I finally realized that I wasn't going to be a part of it out on the field, so it hurt that way," Stroup said. "But this was one of our goals to get here, and we accomplished
He took it all in stride and tried to help his team in other ways. He supported the Eagles, talked them up and rallied behind them.
"You just want to be there for them and show them that even though I can't be out there on the field with them, I am still part of the team," Stroup said. "I am still going to be there for them as a teammate and a captain. Just show them that I am still going to support them even though I can't be out there."
Senior quarterback Michael Moore was a bit more fortunate.
He was knocked out of last week's game with a concussion, but was able to pass all the necessary testing by Tuesday evening. He practiced Wednesday and Thursday to play Friday night.
"We were worried, at first, that we might not have both of us, but then luckily I cleared everything and my symptoms were gone and I was able to play," Moore said. "I just kind of wished I could have been out there on defense (too)."
Moore, the team's starting safety, was limited to one side of the ball with his injury. Stroup, a linebacker, put Bermudian Springs' defense down two starters.
On offense, Stroup had been the key component to the team's running game all season. He finished with 22 total touchdowns and rushed for 1,280 yards on 190 carries. Junior Tristan Sponseller rushed for more than 1,000 yards, too, but how do you replicate Stroup's production?
"It's tough," Defoe said. "You always use the next-guy moniker, but it's kind of tough to replace production, especially in a short window."
Injuries have a way of giving Defoe a "sick" feeling. Senior Lorenzo DeVita tore his ACL in spring practice and it's still bothering Defoe, he said.
"I feel bad anytime a kid can't play," Defoe said. "It's competition and it's football. We hear about it. There are a lot of kids out there that should be playing and should be part of team and gain from it, and don't. So when a kid comes out and gives you everything they got and lays it on the line, you hate to see any kid sit out and miss. That's tough."