BERWYN – All-conference quarterbacks are worth their weight in gold to high school football teams.
Returning all-conference quarterbacks are even more special and a rare commodity.
Morton senior Emilio Engle brought that talent and experience with him into the fall season for the Mustangs and brought optimism within the team.
That makes Engle’s season-ending injury all the more devastating. Engle broke the third metacarpal in his left hand in the first drive of the homecoming game against Willowbrook in Week 5. He hasn’t played in a game since after having surgery to repair his hand.
“It’s been tough because it’s my senior year and last year I did really good as a junior starter,” Engle said. “I made all-conference [last year] and I was hoping I could make all-conference this year as well.”
The Mustangs (1-7) haven’t been able to get anything going offensively without him. In the three games Engle has missed, Morton has scored just seven points and those came on a kickoff return for a touchdown against Addison Trail. Morton was shut out by Hinsdale South on Friday.
The injury came a week after Morton almost beat Downers Grove South, the current West Suburban Gold leader. Engle accounted for both touchdowns in a 21-14 loss that went down to the wire after Morton lead 14-0 at halftime.
“That was a killer injury for us,” Morton coach Bob Organ said. “I was hoping we could at least keep him on defense.”
Engle has a soft cast on his hand. It has forced him to watch from the sideline helplessly.
“Emilio has been playing football since he was five,” senior defensive lineman Kevion Anderson said. “I’ve never seen anybody love the game so much.”
Despite not being able to play, Engle has still gone to practices and has supported the Mustangs as much as he can, but he still has hope for the future. After the injury, he started looking ahead to his college career.
A week after his injury, Engle visited Benedictine University to meet coach Jon Cooper and the rest of the team. He said Dubuque has also been recruiting him. The prospect of returning to the field gets him excited.
“I’m still going to go to college to play football,” Engle said. “I don’t care where it’s at. I still want to play football.”
Week 8: Hinsdale South 28, Morton 0
Week 9: Morton vs. Oak Park River Forest
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Where: 2400 Home Ave., Berwyn
Records: Morton 1-7, Oak Park River Forest 7-1
Outlook: The Mustangs have a tough opponent in the season finale. Morton faces an Oak Park River Forest squad with a 7-1 record and loads of talent. The Huskies' lone loss came to fellow 7-1 team Glenbard West by a score of 20-14.