By Tim Chambers
Johnson County’s goal of hosting a first round playoff game and winning seven straight got off on the “Wright” foot on Thursday night at Sullivan Central.
It’s hard to imagine that the game’s biggest play was not listed in the box score where the Longhorns accounted for over 400 yards of total offense. That’s because Dakota Wright never caught a pass or ran the football. He simply suited up and made his presence back on the field.
Wright was expected to be one of the top players in the conference before the season began but all that would change on July 15th.
The senior speedster was participating in a seven-on-seven passing league game at Hampton High School when disaster took place. A simple pass play would result in what appeared to be a season ending injury in a non-contact scrimmage.
Wright started to cut back up field, but his knee gave out, causing him to go down in severe pain. It was later learned that he tore his ACL in addition to his meniscus. He was facing six weeks of rehab, then surgery. But all that is put on hold for the moment.
“I can’t tear it any worse than what it already is,” said Wright on Tuesday. “I’ll need surgery when the season ends, so why not go ahead and try to play if it will hold out. It’s hard sitting on the sidelines and not getting to play your senior year. I want to try and do something that will help the team.”
That something came when he trotted on the field on Thursday. Sullivan Central wasted no time putting their top defensive back on him.
“People definitely know who he is and are well aware of his big play capabilities,” said head coach Don Kerley. “Having him on the field is a big help to our other receivers. We wouldn’t put him out there if we didn’t think that he could help us. The doctors have released him to play.”
Wright had tested the knee during some pickup basketball in the gym. One coach saw him playing and was impressed with how he was moving. That’s when he decided to give it a try.
“I’m okay running north and south,” said Wright. “I’m working hard so I can get back on the field to run some plays. They are strictly going to use me as a receiver. We’ll have to wait and see how it goes.”
Kerley was also happy to see him back.
“We know that he is not going to be able to do the things now like he did before,” said Kerley. “But getting him back on the field is special for us. That’s the type of leadership you look for from a senior. His presence will help the team from here on out.”
Game time change
Fans need to note that Friday’s game at Chuckey-Doak will start at 7 pm. instead of the usual 7:30 start time.
Tim Chambers is the sports editor for the Tomahawk. He can be reached by email at [email protected]