Posted: 12:28 pm Friday, October 14th, 2011

St. Andrew’s football hoping for health after losing top two players 

By Matt Porter

St. Andrew’s travels to Forest Hill for a game tonight. If all goes well, win or lose, everyone on the bus back to Boca Raton will be healthy.

Given the way things have been going for the Scots (3-2), that might be asking for a lot.

Their best player, senior Gary Gladden, has battled a sore shoulder for several weeks. Last week against Florida Christian, Gladden took a few direct hits on it and it separated.

Gladden (6-2, 200, No. 46 on the Big Board), who played running back and linebacker last year, was filling in at quarterback for freshman Sean Downs. Downs, who took over the starting job for graduated Cameron Crage (Dartmouth), has been out since Sept. 12 with a concussion, suffered when was nailed by two Inlet Grove players after throwing a screen pass. With his headaches reoccurring a month later, McCartin said, Downs may not play again this season.

The Scots’ top pass-catcher, senior tight end Jack Sheehy, will miss his second week with a mild concussion. Sheehy (6-5, 235, No. 48 on the Big Board) was hit after catching a pass Sept. 30 against Coral Springs Charter.

McCartin said Sheehy and Gladden could return for the Scots’ Oct. 28 against South Florida HEAT, which follows a bye week.

Junior Sean Mooney, who plays wide receiver and defensive back, will fill in at quarterback. Junior Kimi Linnainmaa, a Finnish native who mostly plays outside linebacker, will see extended time in the backfield.

This isn’t new for a small school like St. Andrew’s, which opened the season with a roster of 43 mostly two-way players. To lose 10 players to injuries, McCartin said, is a bit of an anomaly.

“Last year, we were healthy the whole season, and at all the key places. Two years ago, I thought we had a pretty good team, and we lost 5 guys in 3 weeks,” McCartin said. “The depth is really what gets us. A lot of young kids are playing for us. We’re starting four freshmen. They’ve done a good job. They need to step up more now, though.”

For the record: The Scots’ Sept. 12 game at Inlet Grove, during which they lost Downs, was officially ruled a no-contest. It was rained out Friday, Sept. 9. The schools couldn’t secure referees for a makeup Saturday, McCartin said, so they set a date for Monday at Inlet Grove. With a few minutes left in the third quarter the lights went out for good. … St. Andrew’s will play South Florida HEAT in its Oct. 28 homecoming game. Upperroom Christian, which has forfeited several games this season, was forced to cancel.