After an altruistic move from tailback to fullback, Erie senior Ryne Atkins was having a stellar senior season.
Unfortunately, it ended prematurely. Atkins suffered a broken left leg Saturday night in the fifth-ranked Tigers’ 42-28 loss at No. 8 Northridge. Despite getting virtually all of his carries between the tackles, Atkins was the Tigers’ leading rusher. He finished with 471 yards on 66 carries and eight touchdowns.
His rugged running style, in which he often bowled over opponents, made him the team’s inspirational leader as well.
After the game, Tigers coach Larry Gartrell believed the injury was to Atkins’ ankle and said he had been jettisoned to the hospital. Atkins’ parents confirmed to my colleague Brian Howell that it was a clean leg break and that he will miss the remainder of the season.
It’s always disappointing to see an athlete’s season end before its time, but Atkins was truly one of the good guys. He was gracious when being interviewed and his teammates spoke glowingly of him. Here’s hoping for a full and hasty recovery.
Follow Paul on Twitter: @PaulWillis21