By Tim Chambers
The things we often take for granted can sometimes be taken away unexpectedly in the blink of an eye. Such was the case for standout senior Dakota Wright on July 15 at Hampton High School during the passing league.
Wright made a routine catch across the middle and started downfield. Instead he went down to the ground and had to be carried to the sidelines.
Wright was hoping that his unknown injury would heal but decided to have an MRI last week after the pain continued. He got the unexpected news on Monday. Another blink of the eye and his football season was over.
He had torn his ACL in addition to his meniscus. He now faces six weeks of rehab and then surgery. He’ll need about six months of rehab after that.
“It’s so frustrating because this is my senior year,” said Wright. “I had worked extra hard over the spring and summer because I wanted this to be a special season. My role now is to be there for the younger players and help wherever needed. I will be there on Fridays to cheer them on. I am absolutely crushed and my heart is broken. I cried quite a bit after they gave me the news. I never envisioned anything like this.”
Wright was being tabbed as one of the league’s top players after last year’s heroics. The senior speedster ran four kickoffs back for touchdowns and had three more called back due to penalties. He was also one of a few players who earned the duties as a two-way starter on offense and defense. He ran for nearly 500 yards and was third on the team in receptions but first in yards per catch.
JCHS head coach Don Kerley touched on Wright’s value to the team.
“You hate to lose anybody but especially a player like Dakota,” said Kerley. “He’s a two-way starter and our best big play threat. I don’t think you can replace a kid like him. I told him to come to all the games and practices when he could. He’s still a part of this team. I hurt for him because he’s a senior.”
Wright hopes that someone might give him a chance to play football after high school. He said that making it to three straight playoffs was the highlight of his career.
“I want all our fans to know that it has been a blessing playing under the lights at Paul McEwen Stadium. It’s something that I dreamed about growing up as a kid. I will never forget the fans cheering or the band playing. I’ll never forget our three straight playoff appearances. I’m glad to have worn the Longhorn jersey.