Pair of Deer Lakes players injured in loss to Ford City
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Friday was a challenging night for the Deer Lakes football team and its fans.
The Lancers lost two players to potentially serious injuries in a 48-13 loss to Ford City in a Class AA Allegheny Conference game at Deer Lakes.
Senior linebacker Dylan Dempsey and junior linebacker Mike McGraw suffered apparent head injuries and were flown by helicopter to separate Pittsburgh hospitals.
Dempsey was taken to Allegheny General Hospital immediately after the game, and McGraw was flown to Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh about an hour later.
As of late Friday night, Dempsey's condition was still being evaluated at AGH, according to a nursing supervisor.
Children's Hospital declined to release any information on McGraw's condition.
Fans were instructed to remain inside the stadium as the first helicopter arrived for Dempsey. Once the school's parking lot had been cleared for some time — aside from police and medical personnel — the second flight arrived and picked up McGraw.
“This is the definition of a game where the score wouldn't have mattered, win, loss or draw tonight,” Deer Lakes coach Todd Hazlett said. “To lose two boys like that who you spend so much time with, they become like your son. It breaks my heart. You play this game, you love it … It completely weighs on you. The rest doesn't matter right now.”
Before facing Deer Lakes (3-5, 1-5), Ford City (3-5, 2-5) had been eliminated from playoff contention.
Sabers coach John Bartolovic's words were clear on the mentality that his team would be taking to the field in next week's season finale.
“We told the kids that we're going to coach hard, we're going to play hard, we're going to work hard and finish on a high note,” he said. “It's their memories, it's their Senior Night. We're disappointed of course, in the back of our heads, but it is what it is and you've got to come play.”
Senior running back Devan Willyard was a stalwart for Ford City on offense and special teams. He carried the ball 18 times for 211 yards and scored two rushing touchdowns.
Willyard also returned a kickoff 77 yards for a touchdown immediately after Deer Lakes made it a two-score game late in the third quarter.
Ford City senior running back Ben Young also eclipsed the century mark, carrying the ball 17 times for 115 yards and three touchdowns.
Deer Lakes senior cornerback Zack Burke, who returned an interception 62 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter, suffered a leg injury and was taken off the field by stretcher. Burke is believed to have suffered a sprain.
Hazlett was proud of the effort his players put forth under the circumstances.
“The one thing I've always been pleased with from my team is that there's never been any quit in them,” he said.
Stephen Catanese is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Minister quick to share time, talents, love
- Steelers rookie says Sam, his former roommate, has changed
- Fire victim’s ex-boyfriend jumps from Tarentum Bridge
- Turbine sites near properties in Fayette County threatened
- Steelers aim to create more turnovers this year with speedier defense
- Rossi: Buying trust is a must for Pirates
- Greensburg skaters competing at ice dance championships
- Multimillion-dollar renovations to remake 1960s Pittsburgh apartments Downtown, on North Side
- West Mifflin Legion falls into elimination bracket
- South Hills sweeps Synergy Group in DNL playoffs
- Former Washington County judge awaits word on trial over seized cocaine evidence