Team adapts to recent injury

Still reeling from the close overtime lost to Delaware State, the Rattler football team is troubled again with defensive injuries and will have to compete for the rest of the season without starting defensive back Michael Creary.

It was announced on Tuesday, after an MRI, that Creary, a junior defensive back from Deerfield Beach, will be out indefinitely for the rest of the season with a torn ACL. Creary sustained the season ending injury during the Rattlers season opener against Alabama State University.

Earl Holmes, co-defensive coordinator and inside linebacker’s coach, said Creary’s presence will definitely be missed because of his leadership and impact in the defensive secondary. Las year he had a career high of 32 tackles.

“Mike is one of the best defensive backs that we have in our secondary and he contributes a lot of experience but also a tremendous amount of leadership physically and vocally on the field,” Holmes said. “But despite losing Creary, we have some veteran players that will step in and make some big plays are defensive backs- Jason Beach and Greg Harvey.”

Beach is a senior from Pensacola. Holmes said he was a starter last season and has good experience, so he will be a great contribution to the defense as well.

“Beach is a veteran leader who is a very smart player that has stepped up for us and he will absolutely help us along the way,” Holmes said.

Leroy Vann, defensive back, said that even though Creary will not be able to play this season, the defense will step up in his absence.

“Mike plays a big role in our defensive secondary because of his play making ability and knowledge of the game,” Vann said. “By losing him for the season it will make it a little harder for our secondary but all of our defensive back are all good but we will just have to work and put in a little more work.”

Also injured is starting running back Phillip Sylvester, a sophomore from Marianna, and leading offensive lineman, junior Robert Okeafor, from Jacksonville.

During the game last week against Delaware State, Okeafor, suffered a high ankle sprain that has kept him out of this week’s practice. He is expected to play in the next game against Howard University.

“I’m ok, I just got my ankle rolled up last game but it’s just a minor high ankle sprain, I’ll be ready to go against Howard,” Okeafor said.

As for starter running back Sylvester, he will also be ready for next week’s game against Howard as well. Last year, Sylvester had a successful game against Howard, where he rushed for a total of 222 yards and had a long touchdown run where he scampered for 94 yards.

“My ankle feels good and I’ve been running all practice and I’ll be ready for the next game,” Sylvestor said.