Clayton Valley Charter lineman Jalen McKenzie is out for the season after suffering a torn ACL on the second play of Friday’s loss to Folsom, Ugly Eagles head coach Tim Murphy confirmed to Bay Area News Group on Tuesday evening.
McKenzie is the son of Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie and the younger brother of Kahlil McKenzie, now at Tennessee.
Murphy called the situation “horrible.” Particularly considering the injury was initially thought to be an MCL issue, which might have healed in time for McKenzie to return to the field this fall.
“His dad works for Raiders (so) the guy even checked him out,” Murphy said. “From the outside test, they thought it was just going to be cartilage. MRI comes back, finds out his ACL is torn in half.
“It’s a shame. His backup did a good job, but Jalen is the real deal.”
Murphy wound up awarding that backup, junior Jalyn Mitchell, with player of the game honors.
“Good kid and he did an amazing job coming in,” Murphy said of Mitchell. “But Jalen McKenzie isn’t exactly a replaceable kid. Amazing lineman. He might be in the NFL some day. Think about the difference that kid makes.”
On the first play from scrimmage Friday, tailback Ray Jackson III ripped off a 31-yard burst that brought Clayton Valley Charter into Folsom territory. The next snap might replay through McKenzie’s mind for the rest of the season, though it was tough to tell the cause of injury from afar.
“Honestly it was the old-school turf thing, where the foot sticks in the ground and the knee pivots,” Murphy said.
McKenzie, who was going to play both sides of the line, laid on the ground for about five minutes before being helped off the field.
Jackson still racked up 225 yards on the ground in the 27-26 defeat, including an 84-yarder to the 3-yard line that helped keep Clayton Valley Charter close. Murphy credited Jackson, a senior who sat out last year after transferring from College Park, and quarterback Luis Ramos as well as the blockers who remained around him. Center Jacob Linderman and fullback Jake King earned specific mention.
However, McKenzie will surely be missed.