By Chip Cirillo
Blackman suffered a big blow when running back Master Teague underwent ankle surgery on Wednesday.
That might wipe out the rest of the Ohio State commit's senior season.
"He might make it back, but I think it's kind of doubtful,"
Blaze coach David Watson said. "But it could happen. Kind of have to get a little lucky, probably."
Teague's ankle injury has kept him out of the lineup for half the season.
"It's disappointing because he's really only got to play in three games this year, but luckily we've got quite a bit of depth at that position," Watson said. "We've got some other guys who will fill in and do a great job. Of course, they're not Ohio State guys, but we think they're above-average high school football players. You're not going to totally replace a guy like Master."
Blackman (6-1) didn't look like a shorthanded team in Friday's 62-0 rout of Warren County (2-5) as tailback Cordell Braxton rushed for 171 yards and five touchdowns on 11 carries.
Sophomore Conner Murphy, who ran for 185 yards and two TDs in a 35-3 win over Siegel, will also fill the big void left by Teague.
Teague's big-play ability is probably what the Blaze will miss most.
The 5-foot-11, 210-pound tailback runs a 4.4 in the 40-yard dash and is very strong in the weight room.
"We've had some really good running backs," Watson said. "I'Tavius Mathers won a Mr. Football for us while he was at Blackman and ran for over 2,500 yards. The thing about Master is we haven't yet been able to see what he can do because he was hampered with an ankle injury this year."
Teague is more of a downhill back than Mathers.
Blackman wide receiver Trey Knox, who has offers from Clemson and Ohio State among others, is another weapon.
Blackman, ranked fourth in Class 6A, has a bye this week before visiting Cookeville (6-1) on Oct. 13.
"They lost on the last play of the game against Riverdale or they would be undefeated," Watson said. "I think that they'll be a tremendous test. I think 20 of their 22 starters are seniors."
The Blaze's only loss was a 42-21 setback against top-ranked Oakland (6-0) two weeks ago.
Blackman will also rely on quarterback Connor Mitchell in Teague's absence.
End Treven Brown and linebacker Matthew Hall have anchored the Blackman defense.