CONWAY — For the second straight week, the Coastal Carolina football team watched one of its offensive leaders go down with an injury late in a lopsided win. This one was even scarier in the moment for the Chanticleers, but they’re hoping the news might be a little better this time.
Senior quarterback Aramis Hillary took a hard hit with 7:51 remaining in the fourth quarter of Coastal’s 36-12 win over Liberty and stayed down as the medical staff came out onto the field and eventually immobilized him and carted him off with a neck injury. Hillary was taken from Brooks Stadium to the hospital and later released and all tests were normal, according to a team spokesman.
“We haven’t heard anything specifically yet other than the fact that usually when you’ve got something with your neck and you can move your limbs, your body, chances are you’re OK,” Moglia said. “And so I feel positive about that. But he had a police escort to the hospital. He’s with his mom, and we won’t know for a little while. But we’re optimistic he’s going to be OK.”
Hillary, who has been named the Big South Conference offensive player of the week twice this season and entered the day as the league leader in passing, was 13-of-21 for 113 yards and a touchdown and rushed 10 times for 87 yards before the injury.
It was unclear from afar what exactly happened on the play, and his teammates didn’t initially realize he had been injured.
“When he was down, I was over there and I was like, ‘Come on, let’s get up. Get up. Get up,’” senior center Pat Williams said. “He’s like, ‘My neck, my neck,’ but he was moving. He was just saying, ‘My neck.’ He’s like, ‘I’m good, I’m good.’ That’s when they told us to get away from him.”
Redshirt-freshman Alex Ross finished out the game at quarterback for Coastal, completing his only pass attempt for a 3-yard touchdown.
Afterward, Moglia wasn’t ready to speculate on Hillary’s status for the upcoming week.
“Again, he was able to move. That’s the reason why our people feel reasonably optimistic,” he said. “But we don’t want to conject on that. Let’s find out what it is before we say anything about it.”
Sampson done for season
A week after losing junior left guard Jamey Cheatwood to a torn anterior cruciate ligament, the Chants’ injury woes actually continued earlier in the game Saturday when freshman safety Richie Sampson injured his shoulder on a tackle early in the third quarter.
Sampson, who was promoted into the starting lineup a few games ago, was playing well Saturday with a sack, a pass break-up and a quarterback hurry before going down. Moglia expects he’ll miss the rest of the season.
“It looks like he’s got a separated shoulder,” Moglia said. “That’s not a lingering long-term injury, that’s going to get fixed pretty well, but that means he’s done for the season. That’s a shame because as a freshman he’s done well for us in all the special teams as well as what he’s done defensively.”
Junior Tyler McCarthy replaced Sampson on the field after the injury.
Moglia made a point after the game to compliment the play of sophomore offensive lineman Kevin Hart, who took over for Cheatwood at left guard this week.
The line looked strong yet again on a day when Coastal rushed for 226 yards -- its third-straight 200-yard game.
“I want to give a plug to Kevin Hart,” Moglia said. “It’s tough to replace a guy like Jamey Cheatwood, and for Kevin to go in there off the bench and play as well as he did, I think he certainly deserves a pat on the back.”
Senior running back Jeremy Height rushed for at least 89 yards for the third-straight game and has already eclipsed Travis Small’s team-best rushing total of 432 yards from last season with 559 so far. Height is also now just 42 yards away from setting the Coastal single-season record for all-purpose yards. He’s at 1,125 through eight games. ... Hillary’s program-best streak of passes without an interception is now up to 180. ... The Chants tied their season-high with three interceptions Saturday, matching their total from the season opener.
Contact RYAN YOUNG at 626-0318.