NOTEBOOK: Lafayette’s Johnson may have torn ACL

Football stockBy Brandon Speck and Gene Phelps

Daily Journal

JACKSON – Four plays into Saturday’s Class 4A state championship loss to Forrest County AHS, Lafayette sophomore offensive tackle Eli Johnson was helped off the field, favoring his right leg.

In pain with what he thought was a torn MCL, Johnson came back in on the first play of the second quarter. Turns out, it is likely an ACL tear.

“If I knew it was an ACL, I probably wouldn’t have come back out, obviously,” said Johnson, a top 2016 prospect with offers from Akron, Louisiana-Lafayette, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Southeastern Louisiana.

“It’s tough when your best offensive lineman goes down early,” Lafayette coach Eric Robertson said. “He tried to go, he just couldn’t do it.”

The knee popped again with 5:42 left in the third and Johnson left for good. He said he would have the knee examined Monday morning.

“It was hurting bad,” Johnson said. “I had that big pop. I dealt with it. I was upset. It’s tough.”

TD didn’t count

Trailing 21-6, Lafayette appeared to score a touchdown with more than 3 minutes left in the game But receiver Montrael Nabors was called for illegal touching before he caught Devin Thomas’ pass.

“I was pushed out of bounds,” Nabors said.

That was the consensus thought, including from ’Dores coach Eric Robertson.

Pine Belt powers

Schools from the Lamar County and Forrest County area, known for years as the Pine Belt, have won a number of state championships in baseball … but few in football.

Saturday’s 21-6 win by Forrest County AHS against Lafayette in the Class 4A state championship game was a first for the Aggies program.

“I’m so excited for our kids and our fans,” Forrest County AHS coach Larry Dolan said.

On Friday, Lamar County entry Oak Grove defeated Tupelo 14-7 in the Class 6A state title game.

Luck, talent wins

Forrest County AHS quarterback Carter Hankins, who passed for two touchdowns and ran for one in the Aggies’ win against Lafayette believes it takes more than talent to win a state championship.

“Some of it has to do with luck … I mean, you’ve got to be lucky to win,” he said.

Big night for Cutcliffes

Oxford wide receivers coach Chris Cutcliffe wasn’t able to watch dad, David, coach the Duke Blue Devils against Florida State Saturday night in the ACC championship game.

“That’s pretty awesome though for our family,” Chris Cutcliffe said. “I hate that I’m missing it and I know he’s hating to miss this one, but it’s pretty cool it’s happening this way, too.”

Cutcliffe was Oxford’s quarterback when Oxford lost here to Wayne County in 2003. Defensive line coach Matt Conner was the center on that team.

“It’s DVR’d at my house. I’ll probably watch it when I get home,” Chris Cutcliffe said. “I’ve got a lot going through my mind during our game, but I’m sure I’ll try to check it at halftime real quick.”

Click video to hear audio