Josiah Brown, one of the top recruits in the state, suffered a right knee injury early in the second quarter in Malverne’s 21-14 Nassau Conference IV loss to Cold Spring Harbor on Friday night.
Brown, reached late Saturday by Newsday, said he has yet to schedule an X-ray and MRI and does not know the severity of his injury. He said he could not fully straighten his right leg and was walking on crutches Saturday.
“He is currently in the process of getting an X-ray and MRI as we were unable to identify whether it was a bruise, tear, fracture or something else at halftime and after the game,” Malverne coach Kito Lockwood told Newsday on Saturday night. “We aren’t going to jump to any conclusions before we see medical results. Then we’ll take it from there.”
The senior wide receiver/ cornerback, who announced his verbal commitment in June to join Penn State next season, limped off the field and emerged after halftime with crutches. He played halfback Friday night because of offensive injuries.
Brown was disappointed when he suffered the non-contact injury but said he wanted to stay positive and try to support his teammates.
“My spirits were definitely down after it happened,” he told Newsday on Saturday. “I knew I was out for the rest of the game . . . I knew that I could still help my team without touching the field. I could still be there to motivate them and keep everyone positive.”
Moments before Brown was injured, Penn State football coach James Franklin flew over the Malverne gridiron in a helicopter on his way to watch his Class of 2024 recruit. The cheers from the homecoming crowd were heard from the adjacent baseball field, where Franklin’s helicopter landed just before the second quarter.
Brown had runs of 13, 10 and 11 yards and caught a 25-yard pass from quarterback Chad Wesley before scoring on a 2-yard run early in the first half to put Malverne up 7-0.
Then, on the fourth play of the second quarter, Brown weaved between defenders and planted his right foot before making a sharp cut on the turf when he felt a sharp pain in his right knee.
Cold Spring Harbor handed the Mules (5-1) their first defeat of the season.
Sam Bruno threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Tim Pisano in the first quarter to tie the score at 7. Alex Bauer rushed for second-half touchdowns of 1 and 30 yards to put Cold Spring Harbor (5-1) ahead.
Brown returned to his hometown to play for the Mules after starring at Holy Trinity for three years. He hopes to be an asset in Malverne’s quest for its first county championship since 1991.
University of Georgia coach Kirby Smart landed via helicopter at Holy Trinity last January when Brown was being heavily recruited by the Bulldogs and 20 other FBS college football programs.
Brown said Penn State was always a top choice, but his visit there last spring confirmed his decision.
“The history, the academics and the excitement of the fans behind the team,’’ he said Friday night. “ . . . I just can’t wait to play in front of 100,000.”
Lockwood told Brown of Friday’s surprise visit an hour before the game. Brown raved about the opportunity for his hometown to experience Franklin’s presence.
“It’s more about the teammates than me,” Brown said before kickoff. “Here at Malverne, we don’t really get opportunities like this. Knowing that I grew up here and these are the people I love, this means a lot to me.”