Those gray clouds that hovered over East Hamilton's practice field on Tuesday got a lot darker for Hurricanes tailback Logan Jackson a few hours later.
Jackson was informed by doctors that he tore the ACL in his left knee in Friday night's 38-0 TSSAA first-round playoff victory over Marshall County and will miss the rest of his senior season.
The Hurricanes (10-1) will host Page (7-4) Friday night in a second-round game. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
"I kind of knew Friday night after the doctor talked to me on the sidelines," Jackson said Wednesday. "I found out late (Tuesday) night exactly what happened. I was hoping for the best, but it turned out pretty bad.
"I asked the doctor if I could put on a brace and still play. He told me that would be too risky."
Jackson sustained the injury while making a second-quarter run against Marshall County. He already had scored two touchdowns and rushed for what turned out to be a game-high 89 yards.
Jackson will have surgery on Nov. 21 and begin rehab two days later.
"I want to have the surgery and get it over with, get back in the weight room and get healthy and back on the field as soon as possible," he said. "I hope there will be some colleges that will still give me an opportunity to play for them. That's been a dream of mine since I was a little boy watching my sister cheerlead at Ooltewah games."
Jackson, who rushed for for 1,608 yards and 25 touchdowns, was being recruited by UTC, Furman, Eastern Kentucky, Memphis and Appalachian State.
He made a visit to Tennessee Tech the day after being injured against Marshall County.
"I still wasn't sure how bad the injury was when I went up there," Jackson said. "I was on the sideline, but I didn't wear my (knee) brace. I wasn't using crutches because I wanted to make things look as good as possible.
"The knee didn't bother me much until I sat down. I had a hard time getting up."
Following Tuesday's 2-hour, 30-minute practice, Gatewood said he will use two players, perhaps three, in Jackson’s absence.
When Jackson left Friday’s game, Matt Milita and senior Lamond Greer filled in.
Milita, a five-foot-1-inch, 165-pound sophomore speedster, rushed seven times for 78 yards. The 5-8, 185-pound Greer, a senior, picked up 69 yards on 12 carries.
Those two players helped the once-beaten, third-ranked Hurricanes pile up 396 yards of total offense.
The third player figuring into the equation is junior Hunter Parker, a 5-11, 165-pound junior who is the team’s starting free safety.
For the season, Greer carried 69 times for 394 yards with four touchdowns. Milita has 362 yards on 39 carries and seven touchdowns.
Parker has not run the ball this season, but has previous backfield experience. Basically, Parker is an insurance policy in case of further injuries.
So, Greer and Milita have a combined 609 yards and 11 touchdowns. That doesn’t match Jackson’s offensive production by any means, but Gatewood is confident the three players can fill in adequately.
“It’ll be a committee deal like it’s been in the second halves in most games this year,” Gatewood said. “We’ve got three kids that’ll probably run at tailback for us.
“Those three guys are vested in the offense and understand their roles.”
Will Greer or Milita be in the starter?
“I don’t know,” said Gatewood, the only coach in East Hamilton’s short four-year history. “I’ll have to see how I feel when I wake up Friday morning. Seriously, it hinges on what type offense we’re in and what kind of play we’re going to run.”
Another player that can’t be overlooked is quarterback Hunter Moore, who has completed 74 of 121 passes for 1,208 yards and 14 touchdowns.
East Hamilton’s leading receiver is senior receiver Cody Knox (5-11, 175), who has 17 receptions for 341 yards and three touchdowns.
TSSAA Second-Round Pairings
All games start at 7 p.m. Local Time
South Pittsburgh (8-3) at Gordonsville (10-1)
Boyd-Buchanan (10-1) at Oneida (9-1)
Silverdale (10-1) at Knoxville Grace (9-1)
Trousdale County (8-3) at Marion County (8-2)
Notre Dame (9-2) at Giles County (10-0)
Page (7-4) at East Hamilton (10-1)
Ooltewah (8-3) at Lenoir City (9-2)
Riverdale (8-3) at McMinn County (10-1)
Baylor (8-3) at Memphis University School (8-2)
McCallie (5-5) at Ensworth (10-0)
(E-mail Larry Fleming at email@example.com)