BILL DWYRE

Football playoff game loses its charm when tragedy strikes

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"Somebody apparently had the wrong information," Johnson said Monday.

Sunday, Steinberg reported with more accuracy.

"He has no feeling in his arms or legs," the coach said. "The C-4 and C-5 were crushed. But he is breathing on his own and the good news is that his spinal cord was not severed."

Steinberg said that Walker had surgery and that time would tell how much the swelling subsided and what could be done after that. He also said he once had a player where he previously coached suffer what appeared to be a similar injury to Walker's and that that young man is walking around today.

Steinberg also called the circumstances of the play "a one-in-a-million thing."

Santiago scored a touchdown with about three minutes left to cut Upland's lead to 30-29. Then Santiago missed the extra-point try, Upland ran out the clock, and a bitterly tragic night for Corona Santiago ended in further surreal sadness.

In the aftermath, normalcy mixed with sadness. Life's show went on.

By the next day, Santiago's star quarterback, Barnett, had traveled to see one of his suitors, Notre Dame, beat Brigham Young at South Bend, Ind. While there, he announced his commitment to play for the Irish, starting in 2015. During his trip, he sent a Twitter message, asking for prayers for teammate Walker.

Also the next day, parents and friends gathered at the football field where Walker had been injured and formed a prayer circle around the 50-yard-line school logo.

Monday, Walker's parents, Curtis and Allison Walker, issued a statement through Loma Linda University Medical Center that said, in part: "We understand that with any sport, there is the risk of injury. We do not blame or have any hard feelings toward the football players and coaches of Upland and Santiago High Schools.

"We appreciate the love and support Jordan continues to receive from his teammates and coaches."

bill.dwyre@latimes.com

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