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Wingenbach

Ron Wingenbach

Like for most football fans across the state, Monday was a bummer for Ron Wingenbach.

The high school coach of Carson Wentz for the Century Patriots, Wingenbach was disappointed to learn his former player's season was over. Wentz suffered a torn ACL in his left knee during Sunday's game in Los Angeles against the Rams.

Wingenbach was watching the game on TV when the injury occurred. 

"Usually when you see those ACL injuries the foot is planted, but you could see on the replay both of his feet were in the air," Wingenbach said. "It just shows the brutality of the NFL and the force of the hits those guys take.

"You certainly can understand why those players try to negotiate their contracts and get as much money as they can because tomorrow is not promised to any of them."

Wingenbach has full faith Wentz will make a complete recovery. Although unfortunate for the NFC-leading Eagles, Wingenbach was not surprised the injury happened with Wentz diving head-first for the goal line.

"That's just Carson's natural instinct kicking in," Wingenbach said. "I bet he would tell you today he'd do the exact same thing."

He also was not surprised to see Wentz stay on the field for three more plays, including throwing his franchise record 33rd touchdown pass.

"Obviously adrenaline kicks in during that situation but you know he was still dealing with a lot of pain," Wingenbach said. "That's gutsy right there."

Like many football fans in the Upper Midwest, Wingenbach was envisioning a dream scenario of the 11-2 Eagles and the 10-3 Minnesota Vikings squaring off somewhere deep in the playoffs. The Super Bowl will be played in Minneapolis on Feb. 4.

"The stars seemed to be aligning with the Vikes and Eagles ... what a great situation that would've been," Wingenbach said. "It's too bad when you put all that work in and then you're not able to reap the rewards, but that's an unfortunate part of sports and athletics sometimes. You don't always get to write the final chapter."

Most NFL pundits had pegged Wentz as a MVP frontrunner along with five-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Tom Brady of the New England Patriots. Wingenbach has not been surprised by Wentz's rapid rise despite being in only his second season.

"I just look at the body of work at NDSU, for us here, and with the Eagles. Carson elevates the play of those around him," Wingenbach said. "I really do believe it starts in the locker room with the type of leader he is. I just think he commands that type of respect from his teammates in how he prepares and obviously how he plays."

Wingenbach, who led the Patriots to Class AAA state football titles in 2015 and 2016, hopes the Eagles still make a postseason run and has no doubt Wentz will return better than ever.

"(Nick) Foles is a guy who's been there, done that. You know Carson will still be in the meeting room, on the sideline, maybe up in the booth, doing whatever he can to help," Wingenbach said. "He'll do all the right things to get healthy and prepare himself for the wear and tear of the NFL ... he'll be back."

Reach Tribune sports editor Dave Selvig at (701) 250-8246 or david.selvig@bismarcktribune.com

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