HENNESSEY, Okla. —
Tony Mendoza wasn’t made available to speak to media Wednesday, the day the Hennessey junior quarterback learned for certain that his injury-spurred promotion from backup to starter would be a permanent one.
He had enough to deal with already.
Dylan Hatchel’s right knee injury suffered in the third quarter of Friday’s unexpectedly lopsided 31-0 loss to Kingfisher was diagnosed as a torn ACL and likely a torn lateral meniscus, a season- and in turn high-school-career ending injury for the senior quarterback.
“I just made a cut, and when I did my knee just gave,” he said. “My knee, it was just completely out of place, I had no strength to push back off of it. I remember feeling it pop … It scared me at first. I pretty much knew when I heard it that something wasn’t good, something wasn’t right.”
Hatchel had an MRI on Monday, and was given the official news Wednesday, with a surgery scheduled for Oct. 16.
The diagnosis means Mendoza will keep the reins he took for the final quarter-plus against the Yellowjackets, a move Hennessey head coach Rick Luetjen previously said -- almost prophetically -- the Eagles had prepared for before the season had started.
In the week before Hennessey’s game against Kingfisher, Luetjen said the Eagles had shifted to the read option offense to utilize Hatchel as a runner in large part because the team was more comfortable with Hatchel’s backup.
“It’s kind of a fine line that we walk there with (Hatchel) being a ball-carrier for us, but we feel like our backup quarterback situation is a lot better this year, and if something was to happen to Dylan and we had to bring in Tony, then we’re confident that he could get the job done, too,” he said.