Two All-Madden nominees from the Empire

Posted By Staff Writer Eric Branch:
I’m guessing even our youngest readers recall the All-Madden team — the annual NFL team selected by John Madden conisiting of players that best exemplified qualities such as toughness, grit and the willingness to play with a femur bone protuding from the skin.
Bill Bates. Gary Fencik. Mark Bavaro. These guys were All-Madden regulars.
In the spirit of the All-Madden team, I nominate two Empire players Madden would admire:

Casa Grande WR/DB Makana Garrigan: Garrigan hurt his right hand in the first quarter of Casa Grande’s 14-7 loss to Montgomery in the NCS Division II semifinals and kept playing. Big deal? As it turns out, Garrigan had a broken hand and dislocated thumb — an injury that required two-and-a-half hours of surgery Monday, complete with pins and screws.
“When we took the tape off after the game, his hand looked like four hands,” Casa Grande coach Trent Herzog said. “It was nasty. It looked like you could pop it.”
For obvious reasons, Garrigan couldn’t play wide receiver after the injury, but he insisted on playing safety and Herzog said he snuck on the field once to continue his punt-returning duties. He returned the punt about 20 yards.
“I don’t know how he caught the ball,” Herzog said.
The trainers initially thought Garrigan had suffered nothing more severe than a hairline fracture when he came off the field in pain in the first quarter. His hand will require six to eight weeks of rest followed by two to three months of rehabilitation.
Small consolation, but he can look at his imaginary all-Madden trophy while he recuperates.

Fort Bragg RB Jake Cimolino: Cimolino’s left shoulder might pop out again while you’re reading this sentence.
Cimolino, who has rushed for 4,182 yards the past two seasons, had undergone two surgeries on his problematic shoulder prior to this season and has had the shoulder pop out of place countless times during his senior year.
After he dislocated the shoulder against Middletown, Timberwolves coach Jack Moyer said it would be a “miracle” if Cimolino played again this season. A week later, Cimolino, wearing a shoulder harness he still uses, was playing against Cloverdale.
Moyer, in his 34th season at Fort Bragg, calls Cimolino the toughest player he’s ever coached. So it’s no surprise that Cimolino rushed for 224 yards and three touchdowns in last week’s 41-28 win over Salesian while battling the flu.
Cimolino vomited during the third quarter. Of course he did.