My first high school football game as a junior varsity player, the sun was out early on the Saturday morning of August 29th. The sky had an aqua blue look with no clouds in sight. I was a quarterback on the team offensively, as well as a safety on defense. We arrived at approximately 9:10 to get ready for the game, as we would be starting the game around 10 a.m. We hopped off the bus to the smell of freshly cut grass. We took the field around 9:25 for our stretching routine on the plush grass, and then we went into our individual offensive and defensive position groups. Stretched out and ready to rock, we took the field for the kickoff.
At halftime, we trailed Northwood 28-0. We couldn’t get much going offensively, as they halted the run and the pass. Defensively, we began the series out promising, only to give up long touchdowns on third down. Our coach motivated us to keep going 100% each play and promised something good will happen. “Keep on doing things right, and it will pay off,” exclaimed Coach Baker. We came out the second half pretty strong. We had the ball and marched all the way down the field to the 20-yard line in the sun’s boiling rays. Then we fumbled the ball. In just three plays, they drove us down to the red zone and scored on us. With the score at 35-0 towards the end of the third quarter, we did not have much life left in us.
We had the ball with around three minutes to go in the third quarter. We plowed the defense back to our 45-yard line, but it was 3rd and 10 to go, and we had to make a play to keep the drive alive. I entered in the huddle and told them the play. “Rocket far QB sweep right on first sound, ready, break!” I yelled. Barking out the cadence, I screamed, “Hut!” I took the snap from the center and rolled out left, then began sprinting right. I had three lead blockers in front of me leading the way to the first down in sky blue jerseys. I traveled five yards untouched then I witnessed a guy coming towards me in my peripherals. Needing just three or four more yards to go, I ran down the sideline and told myself I have to dive to get the first down. I took a step with my left foot, and a guy came in headfirst and took my legs out from underneath me, while at the same time a guy tried to push me out of bounds from behind. I screamed loudly enough that I bet people in Michigan heard me. As I lay on the grass near Northwood’s sideline, my eyesight became fuzzy from the tears like a foggy morning. I vividly remember the pop sound my knee made. I yelled so loud and my face reddened. Grasping my leg, I squeezed as hard as I could. My knee went numb and it felt like I was stung by hornets. My knee turned violet and charcoal like a grapevine from the impact of his helmet. I knew right then it wasn’t good because I couldn’t bend or straighten my knee. As I sat up from the ground, the crowd clapped for me. Coach Bour and the trainer helped me off the field because I couldn’t put any weight on it. It was extremely painful because I hyperextended my knee. “Holy crap,” my dad muttered as he came onto the sideline.
I went to the local hospital and took x-rays and tests. My knee burned with pain. There was no bone break in the x-rays. Then, I got a MRI, and the doctor’s revealed a fully torn ACL. Just like that, my freshman year of football and basketball disappeared, and I had to coach myself how to flex and extend my leg again. My mom whispered, “It’s okay Ry, you will come back stronger than before.” 5 and a half months later I got the opportunity to dress for the basketball team in the first round of the playoffs officially cleared from the Doctor.