EWU strong safety joins twin brother on sideline

Eastern Washington’s still-flickering postseason FCS playoffs hopes received another huge blow on Wednesday when it was learned that senior strong safety Matt Johnson will be lost for the rest of the season because of a shoulder injury.

Johnson, whose twin brother, Zach, was also shelved for the season three weeks ago by lingering knee problems, is the seventh Eastern player to suffer a season-ending injury this fall.

The 6-foot-2, 220-pounder from Tumwater, Wash., was the Eagles’ second-leading tackler with 52, including a team-high eight for losses. His two interceptions this fall raised his career total to 17, just one short of the school record set by Mike Richter from 1971-75.

He had been playing with a painful biceps tendon injury since the second game of the season and will undergo surgery next week.

“What he’s been able to accomplish here has been amazing, both individually and what he has helped us accomplish as a team,” EWU coach Beau Baldwin said of Johnson. “He can certainly hold his head up high – he’s a great ambassador for out program.

“We’re losing a player who has been a big part of our program. Like we told Matt and the team, other players have to step up. Matt has nothing to hang his head about.”

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