Sports: Quarterback Injured In Loss To Terra Nova

Photo Credit: Connor Woods

Menlo Park fire personnel attend to quarterback Royce Branning, who sustained a severe knee injury in the loss

The M-A Bears football team suffered a disappointing 38-14 loss against the PAL-leading Terra Nova Tigers, in which starting quarterback Royce Branning suffered a possibly season-ending injury.

The Bears started off slowly, as they trailed 21-0 by the middle of the second quarter.  At that point, M-A responded on offense, driving the ball into the Terra Nova red zone with fierce determination.  Finally, the Bears got on the scoreboard, when Branning connected with senior Blake Olsen for a nineteen yard touchdown pass.

The Tigers answered back and refused to let down, scoring another touchdown, pushing their lead to 28-7 going into halftime.

The second half proved to be eventful, yet with slow offense for both teams. With five minutes left in the third quarter, running back Marcus Hill picked up 50 yards on the ground, pushing the ball deep into Terra Nova territory, raising M-A spirits, as the crowd went wild.

On the next play, however, horror struck the M-A bench and stands alike, as a Terra Nova defensive end blindsided Junior Quarterback Royce Branning. Branning’s leg bent backwards under the defender, leaving him injured,unable to get up, and completely still on the field. The play stopped, as the M-A football coach, the trainers, and Royce’s family ran onto the field.  At first, he seemed to just be shaken up, and all thought that he would soon be hopping off the field, but not long after, the Menlo Park Fire Department entered the field to assist in the medical treatment.  As the injury break grew longer, entering into about a 20 minute delay, the severity of the injury became more apparent to players and fans.

Later, an ambulance took to the field, as the fans watched from the stands in horror and worry. The team stood by, all kneeling, side by side, as they watched their quarterback on the field. Many players were very shaken up and began to weep, while the others crowded around them in support. As Branning was led off the field in a stretcher completely still and his leg wrapped up, he stuck his arm to the sky and put up his index finger, making the fans go crazy in his support and giving his team the motivation to keep going.

The injury to their quarterback left the Bears shocked and emotional on the sideline. Senior captain James Tedesco said that while Branning was on the ground, “the team got together in a circle praying. We’re a tight team, there’s huge cameraderie, a brotherhood. We wondered, ‘How do we respond to the loss of one of our brothers?’”

M-A tried to rally around backup quarterback Zach Moore, but were unable to gain momentum.  Terra Nova kept the pressure on the M-A defense, scoring twice more before the end of the game.  The Bears, however, were able to get another touchdown, when Moore dove the ball across the goal line at the end of the fourth quarter. The game ended with a final score of 38-14, in favor of Terra Nova.

Despite this result, Tedesco is confident that the team will, “rally around [Branning].” He added that they are, “Looking towards next week,” and “want to hand it to Woodside.”