Gerstner out for remainder of season

It was the last scheduled play of practice Thursday.

Helias senior running back Brock Gerstner was finishing the Crusaders’ walk-through for Friday’s game against Quincy (Ill.) Notre Dame when a teammate accidently fell into him, breaking one of Gerstner’s legs.

“It breaks your heart as a coach, not because Brock is a great football player, but because Brock is a great young man,” Helias coach Phil Pitts said. “He does everything the right way.”

Gerstner, who missed his junior season due to a shoulder injury suffered in the preseason, was voted one of Helias’ five captains this season by his teammates.

“As a coach, you spend as much time with these kids as you do your family and spending (Thursday) night with him in the hospital was one of the toughest things I’ve had to do in my coaching career,” Pitts said.

“But Brock is a resilient young man and we know he’ll be with us the rest of the way.”

Gerstner, who led the Crusaders in receptions, reception yards and scoring through the first two games, is scheduled to have surgery on the injury early this week and should be ready to return to athletic competition around Jan. 1, Pitts said.

The Crusaders struggled with running back depth last season before junior varsity quarterback Garrett Buschjost stepped into the role.

It didn’t look like depth would be a problem this season. But after Gerstner’s injury and the loss of two other players no longer on the team, it’s starting to look like 2012 again.

“Michael (Tannehill’s) role steps up offensively, Garrett Buschjost’s role steps up offensively, guys have to step up,” Pitts said.

Clayton Winter is another player who could figure into the mix. The sophomore, a starter for the JV, carried the ball seven times for 49 yards and a touchdown in the second half of Friday night’s 51-12 victory.

“We wanted to see how he did in the second half because he might be a player we need down the road,” Pitts said. “He’s a hard runner and a strong kid.”

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