As he always does, West Greene’s Colin Brady was racking up yards in the bunches Friday.
This was supposed to be a historic, milestone night for Brady, a senior and the WPIAL’s leading rusher who found himself just a long touchdown run away from reaching 5,000 career yards.
But instead of leaving the field riding on the shoulders of his teammates, Brady exited Kennedy Field sitting in a cart, this after departing the game with a left ankle injury early in the second half of West Greene’s 47-14 home win against Carmichaels.
“It’s heartbreaking, but it’s part of the game,” first-year West Greene coach Beau Jackson said. “Hopefully he can get healed up and get back out here, but we’ll see.”
That very well could be the case. There was early fear that the injury could be a fracture, which likely would have ended Brady’s season and high school career. But Brady’s brother, Patrick, confirmed to the Pittsburgh Union Progress late Friday that results of an X-ray showed no fractures. Instead, Patrick said the diagnosis is a “bad sprain,” adding that it “should be a quick recovery.”
Colin Brady entered the game with 4,775 career rushing yards, meaning he needed 225 more to get to 5,000. Considering he averaged 203 yards in West Greene’s first three games and had run for a career-high 324 yards against Carmichaels a year ago, this appeared more than doable.
Instead, Brady now sits at 4,924 yards after rushing for 149 yards on 11 carries against Carmichaels. He turned 10 carries into 138 yards in the first half but came down awkwardly on his left leg after being tackled on his first carry of the second half, one that resulted in a gain of 11 yards. The game was stopped for about 15 minutes as trainers attended to Brady, who lay on the turf on the Carmichaels sideline. He was then taken off on a cart and transported to Waynesburg Hospital.
“I think he would have gotten [the record],” Jackson said.
Brady is trying to become just the 24th player in WPIAL history to reach 5,000 yards. It would give West Greene a record of three 5,000-yard rushers all time. West Greene graduates Ben Jackson (7,083 yards) and Rodney Wilson (6,304 yards) each rank among the top eight rushers in WPIAL history.
It marked the 18th consecutive 100-yard rushing performance for Brady, a 6-foot-2, 207-pound standout who said a night earlier that he was fighting a cold this week. Brady lifted his season rushing total to 760 yards on 76 carries, good for exactly 10 yards per carry.
The injury put a damper on the win for West Greene, which improved to 3-1 overall after winning its Class 1A Tri-County South Conference opener. Despite having their star rusher for just over a half, the Pioneers still went for 302 yards on the ground. Billy Whitlatch finished with 108 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries, while Johnny Lampe added 43 yards and four touchdowns on eight carries. Lampe scored the first three of his touchdowns in the second quarter when West Greene built a 28-6 halftime advantage.
Until Brady returns, Jackson said those two players will help to fill what is now a large void.
“Probably Billy Whitlatch. He’s the hot hand right now. That’s who we’ll go with,” Jackson said. “But it’s Single-A ball, man. Johnny Lampe will probably get some carries at tailback. We’ll put in Colten Thomas at fullback. We just need to find something that sticks.”
Brady, who said he has been timed at 4.45 seconds in the 40-yard dash, has not yet made a college commitment but has offers from Campbell (Football Championship Subdivision) and Clarion (Division II). A few other schools are showing interest, as well.
Said Jackson, “It’s hard with Single-A, but when you watch his tape, he does jump out. That’s the thing you need to see. He passes the eye test.”