More anguish for Anglin: La Porte quarterback's injury misfortunes continue with broken clavicle
By STEVE HANLON
ST. JOHN -- Football is universal.
The colors, athleticism, great effort and amazing action on both sides of the ball has it growing at an expeditious pace.
All of this swirling on and around the gridiron makes the hard-hitting sport extremely emotional, consequently.
LaPorte football coach Bob James had tears running down his face Friday night with more moisture welling up in his eyes.
And this passion had zero to do with his Slicers' 21-7 loss at Lake Central.
"I love him," James said. "I love all of these boys."
The "him" was senior quarterback RJ Anglin. With about seven minutes remaining in the second quarter in the Duneland Athletic Conference battle, Anglin was deep in his territory when he threw a pass away just before getting tackled and thrown down hard to the turf.
Shortly thereafter, Anglin was being rushed to the ER for what proved to be a broken clavicle, according to family.
"He's one of the best players in the area," Lake Central coach Rick Good said. "He's amazing. When he went down, the entire game changed."
Injuries and watching his friends and teammates on the sidelines has been common for Anglin. The three-sport star has had a similar injury in eighth grade and torn ACLs in the same knee that have kept him off the fields and court and now, this.
"I went over to him and he said, 'I think I broke my collar bone," LaPorte senior Tommy Samuelson said, overrun by the emotion of his own words. "It was brutal. I feel so bad for him. I can't believe it, everything he's had to go through. Last year, he was going to be our No.1 pitcher and then his knee goes out. I hope he can heal up by this spring.
"I'm going to be there for him when I see him. I know he's going to be emotional. I just want him to know we're there for him."
LaPorte (1-4, 1-2) was coming off a huge upset last week against Chesterton. The mojo was rolling. And on the Slicers' first possession at L.C., Anglin hit Samuelson on a 50-yard pass down the western side of the field that took the ball to the Indians 39. A few plays, later he connected with Dylan Salisbury on a 24-yard scoring strike at 7:01 of the first quarter to take a 7-0 lead.
Anglin finished 3-of-6 for 86 yards.
James saw more tears fall when he mentioned the school board fiasco this past summer when he wasn't approved to be head coach at first.
"RJ told me he would only play for me," James said. "You have no idea what that means to me."
The Slicers offense sputtered after the injury. Sophomore Keigan Henckel came in in relief. James said Lake Central (3-2, 2-1) noticed the change and started blitzing and bringing the house in the face of the inexperienced signal caller.
"Three weeks ago, I would've been nervous about Keigan taking over," James said. "But not now. We're going to work hard and he's going to keep getting better and I believe he's going to be just fine back there."
Samuelson had two catches for 59 yards. Henckel had eight rushes for 17 yards and was 2-of-11 for 13 yards in the air.
Lake Central junior running back Xavier Williams was a beast for the Indians. He had 201 yards rushing on 27 carries. He scored a TD from 1 yard out at 9:11 of the second quarter to tie the game at 7, which was what the scoreboard read at the half. Williams scored again from 2 yards out with 10:52 left in the fourth quarter, then sophomore quarterback Chase Kwiatkowski found the end zone from 39 yards to finish off the game's points.
But most on the orange side of the field were thinking of their fallen friend.
"This is awful," Samuelson said.
"We're going to be there for RJ," James said. "He's a great kid. We love him, we really do."