It was a win and a loss for Chanute High School football on Friday night.
The Blue Comets won a theatrical 16-14 game over Circle High School after running back and kick returner Jackson Coombs ran the ball back 78 yards for the walk-off touchdown with virtually no time left to seal the game. But according to starting quarterback Eric Erbe, after his shoulder injury in the middle of the second quarter, he will miss the remainder of the season. Backup quarterback Kam Koester took the remainder of the game’s snaps.
With Chanute up 7-0 in the middle of the second quarter, Erbe broke his right collarbone after a spread formation – two receivers on each side and a running back to Erbe’s left – which culminated with an option play to the left. Erbe pitched it to Coombs, and just after the exchange, a defender pancaked him on the field. Erbe immediately felt all of the Circle defender’s body weight on a bang-bang play.
“I heard a little bit of a crack, but I was kind of more so in denial, so I stayed in for two more plays, but I threw a pass (to Dagen Dean), and I think that’s what actually broke it. Next play, I just handed the ball off and I came out after that,” Erbe said.
Erbe went over to head coach Clete Frazell, who examined his starting quarterback before instructing him to go see Dr. Martin Dillow. Dr. Dillow put his hand into Erbe’s shoulder pad and deduced that his shoulder was indeed broken. Erbe headed to the locker room, took off his pads and went to the ER at Neosho Memorial Regional Medical Center, where medical professionals x-rayed and attached a sling to his right arm.
While it was revealed at NMRMC that his collarbone split into two pieces and that the recovery process will likely take six to eight weeks, Erbe said he will visit another doctor in Chanute today to find out what specifically needs to be done in the recovery process.
This will be new territory for Erbe, as the only other injury in his life that he ever experienced was a sprained ankle. According to John Hopkins School of Medicine, if the collarbone (clavicle) is damaged, the patient may need Open Reduction and Internal Fixation (ORIF) surgery “to bring your bones back into place and help them heal.”
In an ORIF procedure, orthopedic surgeons “reposition the bone pieces surgically back into proper alignment.” But in a closed reduction, doctors physically move the bones back into place without surgery and most people don’t need ORIF, according to John Hopkins School of Medicine.
The correct action to take is still unknown. But Erbe is also thinking about how resilient his team was Friday night.
“I was down there on the sideline when Jackson ran it back. I mean it felt really good to just get the win,” Erbe said.
Once Coombs scored the touchdown that sealed the game, though, Erbe had to face the fact that he had to deal with his injury. Erbe, 15, has been a quarterback since middle school, and this summer has worked laboriously at filling the shoes of former CHS quarterback Ty Bowman. In numerous camps and at Chanute’s training camp over the summer, Erbe showed he can throw well while showing his mobility in the pocket.
It’s a shame that the sophomore quarterback won’t be able to showcase his talents at the Chanute Community Sports Complex in the foreseeable future.
“That’s definitely the hardest part, because I worked all summer getting ready for this, and for it to be taken away from me, it’s really tough,” Erbe said.
Meanwhile, he plans to be on the sideline cheering on his Blue Comets. His first opportunity will be this Friday at home, 7 pm versus rival Pittsburg.