When the Minot High School football team faces its first West Region opponent at Duane Carlson Stadium tonight, it will do so without the services of its best defensive player.
Two-time all-state junior middle linebacker Kolton Larson fractured his left foot during the Magicians' 38-7 win at Grand Forks Central last week and will not suit up against Williston.
Larson had an MRI on Wednesday and expects to get the results this morning. For now, it doesn't look good.
Adam Lawson/MDN • Junior linebacker Kolton Larson watches Minot High’s practice Thursday on crutches. He won’t be able to join his teammates on the field for the near future because of a fractured foot.
"(Doctors) are expecting (tendon injuries)," Larson said. "If it's (just) a fracture, maybe it's like four-to-six weeks. But I'll have to get surgery if tendons are bad."
Minot coach Barry Holmen said his team will have to adjust to playing without Larson for the foreseeable future.
"We believe we won't have Kolton for quite a while," Holmen said. "We hope we'll get him back before the end of the season."
Larson was making a third-quarter tackle when his foot got caught in a pile of players. His foot stayed under the pile while the rest of his body got shoved in another direction.
"(It was) one of those situations where it's a late whistle," Larson said. "Both sides are kinda pushing on it. The pile kinda fell on me and my foot kinda popped."
Larson's absence creates a void not only defensively, but also on offense and special teams. Larson is one of the team's running backs and was responsible for lead-blocking. He is also the team's holder for field goals and extra points.
Holmen said junior Andrew Arnold will see time at middle linebacker in Larson's absence. Sophomore Karter Gorney may also play.
On offense, Holmen expects sophomore Zach Danelson, junior Josh Pizzo and Gorney to step in offensively.
"I'll be accepting the full role," Arnold said. "I gotta step up and do what I have to do."
Larson was on crutches at the team's practice Thursday. Holmen said that while Larson is on the shelf, he'll still have a key role with the team.
"Kolton will be right there helping us coach some of those young kids that get their chance," Holmen said. "He's somewhat a coach on the field and we'll utilize him in every fashion we can."