AKRON BEACON JOURNAL Enlarge
Gus Dimmerling's final carry Friday night at Akron Ellet sealed Perrysburg football team's first ever playoff victory, but it also likely sealed his season.
An Akron defender was blocked into Dimmerling and his helmet broke two of the quarterback's ribs. Initially, Dimmerling and his coach Matt Kregel thought he would be able to play for the second round of the playoffs this Friday.
Saturday, he went to the team's weight lifting and running practice, but on Sunday, his chest hurt more. Dimmerling then had an X-ray which showed the broken ribs. That will keep him out of the 7:30 p.m. Friday Division II second-round playoff game against Avon at Huron High School.
"You can't let a high school student play with broken ribs," Kregel said. "He could puncture a lung."
Kregel said he was on his way to a league meeting on Sunday when he found out the news and was shocked. The team had already ordered a rib protector thinking the ribs weren't broken.
Avon [11-0] beat Perrysburg [9-2] in the first round of the playoffs last season, 28-11. Perrysburg allowed 521 yards and threw two interceptions in that game.
"We didn't play well, and I think because of that, our kids are chomping at the bit," Kregel said. "They throw the ball really well and have a really good sophomore running back -- an all-Ohio kid some day."
With Dimmerling out, backup quarterback sophomore Trevor Hafner will step get his first varsity start in Perrysburg's first second-round playoff game.
"There's going to be a lot of pressure with that," Hafner said. "But I'm confident the guys around me will help. I just have to trust the guy next to me to get his job done, and I'll get mine done."
Replacing the team's leading rusher -- Dimmerling has 1,207 yards and 15 TDs -- won't be easy. Dimmerling also has thrown for a school single-season record of 1,688 yards.
Hafner has seen some time on the varsity team in blowout games this season. He also started for the junior varsity team. At the varsity level, he is 8-for-12 passing for 211 yards and three touchdowns with one interception. He has 13 rushing attempts for 31 yards. Hafner said that his experience in the fourth quarter of some lopsided games helped make him comfortable with the offense.
Even with the star player out, Kregel said, it won't change his offense.
"We're in a great situation," Kregel said. "Trevor can run the entire offense, that is not usually the case. He picked it up so quick. Obviously, no one is as good as Gus running. But [Hafner] has more touch, and can throw down the field better."
He is also expecting more from tailbacks Mark Delas and Kadin Llewellyn. Against Akron Ellet, Dimmerling did nearly all the running, with Delas and Llewellyn getting only a handful of carries. Kregel said that approach was because of the way the defense played.
Defensively, Kregel said, Zach Honsberger and Nick Fleming will fill in for Dimmerling as a defensive back. He said those two have played a bunch this year, but don't have the athleticism of Dimmerling.
Quinn Thomas, who started the season at quarterback, also went back to quarterback from wide receiver and will be the backup on Friday.
"I feel bad for Gus, he got us here," Hafner said. "But I have to step in and do my best."
Contact Matt Thompson at: email@example.com, 419-356-8786, or on Twitter at @mthompson25.