Mepham's Elias Lozada, a core member of the program at outside linebacker and tight end, will likely be out until at least the start of the playoffs with a hairline fracture in his right fibula, according to coach Anthony Cracco.
Lozada, a 6’0”, 185 lb. senior, sustained the injury during a game on Oct. 1 at Wantagh. Late in the fourth quarter, with Mepham driving, Wantagh intercepted a pass. Lozada went after the ball and twisted his ankle, according to his father, Miguel Lozada.
"We didn't initially think it was that bad," Miguel said. "We thought it was a heavy sprain or something. Not until we went to [Winthrop University Medical Center] later that night, did we realize what really happened."
Lozada, a tough competitor who amassed five sacks and 49 tackles in just under four full games this season, didn't need assistance to walk off the field after hurting his ankle.
"He said, 'It's my ankle,'" Cracco said. "He said, 'It's alright it's alright. Just help me up.' We got him up but he gingerly walked off the field. The trainer found that the pain was travelling up his leg and that was the red flag.
"It's a freak injury. It's a motion and play he's probably done 50 or 60 times over the last two years. He just caught it the wrong way."
The prescription is 4-6 weeks of rest, keep pressure off the ankle and keep it elevated, according to Miguel.
The time off for the injury afforded Lozada the chance to finally have his tonsils removed, a condition that had been bothering him throughout the season, but would have caused him to miss several weeks. He had the procedure on Friday at Winthrop.
"He refused to get surgery this season so he could play," said Cracco. "In Week 2, before the Carey game, his face was blown up. They had to treat it with medicine."
But despite the ailment, Lozada's strong defense helped Mepham pull off a 14-7 upset win over Carey, the Nassau II preseason top seed.
"He's a great scraping linebacker," Cracco said. "He can go from one side of the field to the other and make plays. When you send him, he disrupts the quarterbacks and runningbacks. He starts with a purpose and gets to the backfield."
Both Cracco and Miguel are optimistic that Lozada will return to the field for the playoffs, if not the final game of the season.
"He's hopeful, the spirits are high," Miguel said. "He believes he's going to come back and finish off the season. Finish what he started."