Chris Wiley out for season with torn ACL
Nick Johnston, Sports Editor
This one hurts.
One of the team's leading receivers and leading defenders will be sidelined for the rest of the season.
Junior Chris Wiley tore his ACL and will have surgery Tuesday. He will be out until the start of baseball season.
Hartselle head coach Bob Godsey must be getting fed up a bit at the misfortune hitting his team.
"It just seems like every time we get a little continuity or momentum, we have a set back," he said. "But, I guess that's the way it goes.
"I hate it for him, personally, because he's worked so hard and he is an important part of our team."
Wiley will be missed offensively as a wide receiver, but the defense may struggle the most with his loss. Wiley has four interceptions and four fumble recoveries this season.
The injury occurred on the third play of the third quarter of Friday's game against Coffee. Wiley stepped in front of a Vale Bonner pass and started streaking down the sideline.
While trying to make a move on a defender, Wiley's foot planted in the ground, and his ACL snapped.
He hopped up and tried to walk it off, screaming in pain and anger. Minutes later his shoulder pads were off, his knee was wrapped in ice.
"We had things firing on all cylinders with Nikita (Stover) back," Godsey said. "But, now it opens the door for somebody else to step up. That's what a team is all about."
But who will step up for the Tigers?
Quarterback Seth Watson consistently hits four or five different targets each game, so there are plenty of experienced receivers there.
Luke Mize figures to see a lot more balls thrown his way, along with Shawn Jackson and Nick Bates – both linebackers for the Tigers.
"We got several plans in action now," Godsey said. "There's not going to be any wholesale changes, just some tweaking here and there."
If losing him on both offense and defense were not enough, his special teams presence will be gone. He has made several key returns this season and rarely fumbles.
"He did a lot of things for us," Godsey said. "He had probably played his most complete game for us up until he got hurt."
Stover will likely step in to receive punts, along with Justin Youngblood.
As for Stover, he is not back to 100 percent, but he's close.
"With that type of (foot) injury, he's not going to be 100 percent until the end of the season," Godsey said.
Stover sprained his foot on the first play against Decatur. "He's fine, though. It's bothering him, but he will have to deal with that."
"Other people are just going to have to step up," Godsey said.