With a 4-4 record, White Pigeon closes out the regular season tonight at home against Cassopolis (5-3). The Chiefs could still get into the playoffs at 5-4. However, they’ll attempt to scratch out one more victory without leading rusher Chas Rathburn, a senior who played a pivotal role at middle linebacker.
Rathburn went down with a knee injury in the first quarter against Mendon two weeks ago and recently learned he tore his anterior cruciate ligament. Fellow middle linebacker and tight end Chase Personette (junior) is sidelines with a concussion.
Senior lineman Devin Hoover is the next man in at that position and Rathburn told JoeInsider.com that he’s helped Hoover the last two weeks at practice. Rathburn led White Pigeon in tackles in five of the first six games prior to the injury. Having only played a few snaps against the Hornets before hurting his knee, Rathburn averaged 8.7 tackles per game through five contests.
“Cassopolis’ top players are their quarterback and tailback,” White Pigeon coach Joseph Morsaw said. “Both players are quick and explosive and can turn any play into a big gainer. We need to contain these two players and get our offense back on the field quickly. To beat our opponent we need to create turnovers on defense, finish drives in the end zone and keep our intensity up for four quarters.”
“Practice has been cold, but our players have embraced the weather and have come out hitting,” Morsaw explained. “We banged up a few players with a few solid hits, but nothing which will prevent players from performing on game night.”