CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Looks like George Washington is going short-handed again.
The Patriots, who pretty much played their first two games of the regular season without Kennedy Award winning running back Ryan Switzer, now face playing the final two games of the regular season - and maybe more - without his lead blocker and fellow Division I recruit, Dustin Crouser.
Crouser suffered a knee injury in last week's game against Capital and undergoes an MRI today to determine the severity. Most likely, he's suffered a torn ACL and he's out for the rest of the season.
"He's a tough kid,'' said GW coach Steve Edwards Jr. "It happened in the third quarter, and he played the rest of the ballgame after the trainer taped it up and he said, 'I'm going back in.' I guess the adrenaline was flowing.
"It blew his mind [when he found out about the injury later]. He didn't think it was that bad. He knows the situation, and he's glad that he's got his scholarship [offer]. But he hates it for the team, he hates leaving the team. Nobody feels worse about it than he does.''
Earlier this season, Crouser, a fullback-linebacker, accepted an offer to play for Division I Charlotte, though the national signing day isn't for three months. Crouser is considered one of the top candidates for the Huff Award as the state's top defensive player.
Edwards said his team must plow on despite the setback, just like it did earlier this year when Switzer went down with a concussion and shoulder injury early in the opener against South Charleston.
"There's no use to dwell on it,'' Edwards said. "We didn't dwell on it earlier in the season. It's a bad break for him, but we've got several weeks to go and we want to get in the tournament. You just regroup. We've had our share [of bad breaks], but you put another guy in, and that's the name of the game.
"You get tested all the time, and you see how people react. We've got confidence in our kids, and we'll see what we can do. Some other kids get an opportunity to play.''
Besides his role as a defensive leader, Crouser also paved the way for Switzer, who has run for 4,300-plus yards over the last two seasons.
"A lot of what Switzer has done came on the heels of his blocking, and what he's done,'' SC coach John Messinger said of Crouser. "That's going to throw them a curve.''
Waiting and wondering
SC could find itself in a peculiar position next week if it wins at Parkersburg Friday to finish the regular season at 6-4.
The Black Eagles, currently ranked No. 19, could find themselves in limbo as far as obtaining a Class AAA playoff berth, and might not know until the regular-season games wrap up the following weekend.
So if they win, do they practice next week or not?
"If we're fortunate enough to win this game,'' Messinger said, "and we don't know right off the bat [if they're playoff bound], we'll give them Monday off and come back Tuesday. Normally, on our bye week, we let the kids play 7 on 7 and cut the field in half and play with four teams. We've had a lot of fun in the past with that, and we'll do that.
"Of course, it's all a moot point if we don't get this done Friday. We've got a plan in place if we have to wait out a week. We'll see what our fate is. We've got plenty to take care of.''