Samuels out; Trojans seek new quarterback

By: Matt Long/Telegraph Sports Editor
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Oak Ridge High’s varsity football team had a solid preseason with a 4-1 performance. The team’s only loss came to Del Oro, who’s one of the top teams in the area. Oak Ridge, however, suffered another loss on Friday that hurts much worse than the one to Del Oro. Junior quarterback Jason Samuels suffered a broken clavicle after he was tackled late in the second quarter in the team’s 48-6 win over Fairfield. “It was on the second-to-last play of the half,” Samuels said. “We had the ball on the 20-yard-line and were trying to score. I dropped back and felt pressure so I ran and was brought down from behind and a guy landed on top of me and I just felt my shoulder pop.” Samuels was having a great season, completing 48-of-76 passes for 734 yards and nine touchdowns. More importantly, the Trojans are 4-1 and about to embark on their Delta River League schedule. Now they will be without their starting quarterback for at least three weeks, likely longer and possibly for the season. “The doctor said it depends on how fast I heal,” Samuels said. “He said it could take between one and three months to heal. I’ll take it day-by-day and hopefully I’ll be able to return soon.” Oak Ridge coach Eric Cavaliere feels bad for his quarterback. “It’s unfortunately and I feel terrible for Jason,” Cavaliere said. “He’s worked hard and has been successful.” Cavaliere, however, has been coaching long enough to know that injuries happen and all the team can do is move on. “Just like anyone else who gets hurt, you just have to plug the next guy in there,” he said. “You can’t hang your head. Everyone just has to work harder, prepare and go for it.” Cavaliere is not saying who will replace Samuels. Standout receiver Dylan Collie played the second half against Fairfield and only threw one pass, a 62-yard touchdown pass to Byron Spain. Dylan Sipes was up with the varsity team earlier in the season but had since been moved down. Cavaliere said multiple players will be looked at this week heading into the team’s Delta River League opener at home against Sheldon. “We will take a look at some guys playing in our lower levels and it’s possible Dylan might play there,” Cavaliere said. “What makes it difficult is that he’s such a good receiver. On the other hand, if we can’t get him the ball it doesn’t make a difference. We will see what happens this week.” Collie said if it is him, he’s fine with whatever is best for the team. “If it’s me it’s something I need to work on,” Collie said. “I would bring some versatility in that teams would have to defend the run. It’s something that me and Coach (Mark) Watson always joked about because I was always bugging him that I wanted to throw the ball around some. “ Collie played quarterback during his days with the Jr. Trojans and then for half the season as a freshman. Cavaliere said the coaching staff would decide this week in practice who would be the quarterback. Oak Ridge 48, Fairfield 6 Despite falling behind 6-0 and losing Samuels at the end of the second quarter, the Trojans had no trouble with Fairfield. Ryan Adair scored on a one-yard run and JD Smith gave Oak Ridge the lead for good with the extra point. In the second quarter Shay Mueller, who rushed for 126 yards on six carries, punched in the ball from five yards out. Smith added a field goal to give the Trojans a 17-6 at halftime. Bradford Buenzli returned the second-half kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown to put Oak Ridge up 24-6. Collie then completed his only pass to Byron Spain for a 62-yard score. Oak Ridge scored two more times in the quarter, a 2-yard rush from Collie and a 3-yard run from Adair. Oak Ridge’s final score came on a 22-yard field goal by Smith. Samuels completed 6-of-8 passes for 90 yards before leaving the game at halftime. Collie caught three passes for 56, rushed the ball three times for 56 yards and also had a punt return for 34 yards and a kickoff return of 18 yards. “We had a kickoff return for a touchdown to start the second half and our offense really took over after that,” Cavaliere said. “Our offensive line really wore them down and took over in the second half.” JV Trojans 43, Fairfield 0 Josh Wellman scored three times from 20, 25 and 35 yards out to lead the Trojans. Josh Clevenger scored from 15 yards, while Justin Rodriguez took the ball in from 10 yards. Jacob Sipes also hooked up with Colton Giorgi for a 20-yard score. The Trojan defense also scored two points on a safety. “We had a great goal-line stand in the fourth quarter to preserve the shutout,” Oak Ridge coach Ron Short said. “We had excellent play from the whole JV squad.”