Rock Bridge football plays without lineman

Thursday, September 18, 2008 | 11:36 p.m. CDT; updated 12:58 a.m. CDT, Friday, September 19, 2008
Rock Bridge offensive lineman Skylar Hinton gets carted off the field after breaking his left fibula in a loss to McCluer North on Sept. 12, 2008.

COLUMBIA — The game clock was frozen at 6:06 last Friday.

It had been ticking toward the end of the second quarter of the McCluer North-Rock Bridge football game, but now it marked the end of junior Skylar Hinton's season. Trainers carted Hinton off the field minutes later with a broken left fibula.

"I knew it snapped, and from the pain, I knew it was broken," said Hinton, an offensive and defensive lineman for the Bruins. "I didn't know the extent. It kind of hits you hard."

Hinton is no stranger to season-ending injuries. He missed his freshman season after tearing the labrum in his left shoulder.

Rock Bridge coach A.J. Ofodile said the loss of Hinton is difficult for the Bruins.

"He's heady and moves well," Ofodile said. "Not having him is a big blow."

Junior Jason Carmichael is expected to replace Hinton in the Bruins' starting lineup. Rock Bridge (1-2) travels for a 7 p.m. game tonight against the Jefferson City Jays (2-1), ranked No. 4 in the state's Class 6.

Jefferson City's offense relies on running the ball and losing the defensive line's biggest player - Hinton is 6 feet 4 inches tall, 290 pounds - could cause trouble. However, he has plenty of faith in Carmichael.

"Whoever is going to take my spot, I have 100 percent faith they'll be ready," said Hinton, who underwent surgery on Monday. "This coaching staff will make sure they're ready. They've had a week long to prep. They can do it."

Ofodile agreed that the team would be all right despite losing Hinton.

Hinton expects to begin rehabilitation in about three months and said it might last six months. He also plans to skip the Bruins' basketball season because he doesn't want to rush back too quickly from his injury.

Hinton's family influenced his sports career. His father, Michael, officiates basketball and baseball games and was a high school lineman, too. His mother, Elaine, was part of the 1975 University of Nebraska-Omaha national champion softball team and is a member of the UNO athletic Hall of Fame.

Having Hinton's build didn't hurt his chances to play football , either.

"I've always been a big guy," he said. "I get to hit people. I've always wanted to play for Rock Bridge."

With a challenging rehabilitation and next summer's two-a-day preseason practices ahead, Hinton remains motivated.

"It's a love for the sport," he said. "It's what I love to do. I'm going to do it because of where I can see myself ending up and the team ending up."


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