Kerns upbeat despite injury

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 7, 2000


Saturday, October 07, 2000

B. J. Kerns had been patient. He had waited for the chance to be the Ironton Fighting Tigers fullback, and now it was his turn in the position he longed for.

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Kerns took advantage of that chance. Through the first five games of the season, he led the Ironton offense with 507 yards rushing and a team-high eight touchdowns.

Up next was a big game at Portsmouth that pitted two unbeatens against each other. Kerns couldn’t wait and he wanted the ball.


However, on this night Kerns would get the ball on one fateful carry. He got a handoff on Ironton’s first series of the second half. He was stood up by two tackles and stopped. But the Portsmouth safety came running into the play and Kerns was twisted the wrong way.

The result was a severe knee injury. B. J. Kerns wait to be the Ironton fullback came and went.

Now the only thing awaiting Kerns is knee surgery scheduled for a week from Tuesday by team physician Dr. John Leach.

"Dr. Leach said there is some question about the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), but he said the MCL is torn completely in half," Kerns said. "At first they thought it was a lot worse, but after the swelling went down it didn’t look so bad."

Kerns, a 6-foot, 215-pound senior, was on a pace to run for 1,000 yards. And while the injury put a halt to his season this year, he is still hopeful of playing college football.

"I felt real good coming into the season. I wanted to be one of the leaders on the team. When I got taken out, it was devastating because I realized I never get to run out of the tunnel again," said Kerns.

"But I’m hoping to get some offers. Coach (Bob) Lutz and (Mike) Burcham told my dad they had five good films on me to show the colleges. Dr. Leach said I’m going to be all right."

Kerns found it difficult to watch practice last week knowing he would not practice the rest of the season.

"It was kind of hard to accept (the injury) at first, but I realize I’ve got a different role on the team and it’s to support my teammates. I can do that," said Kerns.

Judging from his attitude, Kerns has shown he is handling the injury better than many of the Ironton fans. Kerns said he understands their feelings.

"Some people who came to see me were crying, but it’s part of the game. Every time you go on the field you know the risk. I’m thankful it’s a knee injury and not something more serious," said Kerns.

"I just want to thank everyone for stopping by or sending me a card. Everyone has been real supportive, and all my teammates have been there for me. Coach Lutz and Coach Burcham have been big inspirations for me the past four years."

And now B. J. Kerns is proving quite an inspiration for his teammates.