Oneonta High graduate Noble Champen suffered a season-ending ankle injury in the first quarter of Saturday’s Northeastern Football Alliance playoff game in Johnstown.
The season didn’t last that much longer for the rest of the Oneonta City Stallions, who bowed out of the playoffs with a 40-16 loss to the host Glove Cities Colonials.
“They busted his ankle up pretty good,” Stallions co-owner Tom Terry said of Glove Cities, which injured NFA Offensive Player of the Year Champen during the opening quarter. “He hobbled around for the rest of the quarter, but he didn’t play the rest of the game.
“It happened on one of his running plays,” Terry continued. “He got piled up and the next thing we knew, he was limping. He’s a gamer, so he continued to play for a series or so, but once he came out, he never went back in. There’s nothing broken, but his (right) ankle is badly sprained.”
The Colonials went on to take a 20-3 lead into halftime, then scored the first 13 points of the second half to all but seal their first-round playoff victory.
The Stallions, who replaced Champen with wide receiver Jake Trotter, ended their first playoff season on a three-game skid and finished with a 7-4 overall record.
“It was close for a quarter,” said Terry, who added that backup QB Ahmed Hassanien was not at the game. “We were never really able to sustain anything offensively once that injury occurred. ... Without Noble, there was no way we were coming back.”
Despite the late-season troubles, the Stallions still had their best season in franchise history.
“Our two major goals were to win more than we lose and to make the playoffs,” said Terry, whose fifth-year team had its first winning season. “We’ve made good strides, but we still have work to do.”