• Fort White running back Corey Dryden gets his ankle stretched during Wednesday’s practice. Dryden has been ruled out for the season with a torn ACL (JORDAN KROEGER@Lake City Reporter).
    Fort White running back Corey Dryden gets his ankle stretched during Wednesday’s practice. Dryden has been ruled out for the season with a torn ACL (JORDAN KROEGER@Lake City Reporter).

PREP FOOTBALL: Dryden out for season with torn ACL

FORT WHITE — The heart and soul is gone.

Corey Dryden is out for the season.

Fort White’s running back suffered a torn ACL at the Valdosta State Camp a few weeks ago when offensive lineman JJ Calhoun rolled into the senior as they were both blocking. Doctors told Dryden last week that he’ll need surgery, which is scheduled for Aug. 27.

Dryden’s recovery will take eight months.

“I’m upset. I’m really upset,” Dryden said. “It’s just one of those things that you can’t really help because of the way it happened. It was freak accident.”

“My whole knee just went ‘Boom!’ ”

The torn ACL was just the worst of it for Dryden. He said he also has a few other injuries to his leg that doctors say will luckily heal on their own. Dryden also has a sprained ankle and was seen getting it stretched during Wednesday’s practice. He needs the swelling to go down before he can even have the surgery.

But the biggest injury for him is emotional, not physical. He’s torn up that he can’t play his final season for the Indians.

“It’s awful. Just too tough but I can’t do anything about it. I’ve just got to do my surgery and rehab as good as I can,” Dryden said,

Dryden’s injury counts as a double loss for the Indians because he was also slated to start at defensive end. Instead, JaQuan Robinson will shift from the offensive line to defensive end.

But his absence will certainly hurt Fort White more offensively. Dryden was expected to carry the load this season following the graduation of leading rusher JacQuez Pelham.

Now, the pressure belongs to Stanley Maxwell and Brayden Summers.

“Stanley is obviously going to get a lot more touches,” Fort White coach Demetric Jackson said. “Last year we had three, four backs. This year we’re down to two and a half with Stanley and Corey and then we put Deondre (Cray) in there some. But it gives Stanley an opportunity to get more touches and we’ll see what he can do.”

Maxwell was actually second on the team last season with 498 yards on the ground, 25 more than Dryden. Summers was slated to play quarterback in the spring before Dylan Blair transferred from Columbia. The sophomore will now start in Fort White’s two-back offensive sets.

“It’s a lot of pressure but we’ve got to be the next man up and step up and make plays,” Summers said. “But Corey was the heart. He played everywhere.”

Maxwell pointed to Dryden’s leadership as also a big loss for the team.

“If we needed that player to get the team going, he did it. He hyped everybody up,” Maxwell said.

Fort White head coach Demetric Jackson tried to look at the bright side following Wednesday’s practice, as hard as it may be. Jackson says they’ll miss Dryden’s toughness but did point out some positives to Summers’ increased role, which includes his ability to catch the ball better than any of the running backs on the roster.

But Dryden’s ability to play both ways, as well as special teams, will be missed.

“You can’t replicate his effort and his toughness. But there are several guys by committee that can do some of the things he does,” Jackson said. “Brayden is probably the closest to Corey because Brayden on the offensive side of the ball is pretty physical and he runs tough. Brayden is hard to bring down. The thing that Corey does is he runs lower and he hits the trap real quick. Brayden is a power back but he tries to use the stiff arm. The benefit though is that Brayden catches the ball a lot better than Corey. Brayden has real soft hands so that’s a better dimension. Corey was a better blocker when it comes to pass protection so Brayden has to do a better job of that but he’s young. The other thing with Corey is he could play all the special teams, offense and defense and never really get tired. He’d get tired but he’d just keep going, going and going. We don’t have anybody that can do that.”

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