Written by Matt Wixon
Wixon: Multiple Dallas-area HS football players have bounced back with big seasons after persevering through injuries
As Highland Park takes the football field, you’ll find players who are intense, focused and serious about continuing the school’s winning tradition. You’ll also find linebacker Guy Tom Kellogg.
“People get so worked up about it,” Kellogg said, “they forget to have fun.”
Kellogg is making sure he has fun as a senior. After suffering a tibia fracture in the first quarter of last year’s opener, he’s a starter for a defense that has helped Highland Park (7-1, 5-0 in District 10-4A) rise to No. 2 in the Class 4A area rankings.
Kellogg, who has 46 tackles and two interceptions this season, wants to help Highland Park win a state title. Just like his teammates, he’s intense on the field and takes his role seriously. But after missing all of last season, and with a steel rod implanted in his leg, he has a different view of football.
“It completely changed my perspective on the whole deal,” Kellogg said. “I guess I was kind of blessed that through my injury I got to realize that this is a game and it’s supposed to be fun.”
There’s nothing fun about missing the season, obviously, but injuries are a part of football. Fortunately for Kellogg and several other local players, last season’s season-ending injuries allowed them one more shot as seniors.
Running backs Grayson Warren (Prestonwood Christian) and Teriyon Gipson (Kimball) have both rebounded well.
Warren, who missed most of the last two seasons with multiple injuries, has rushed for 1,114 yards and 13 touchdowns and has also caught four touchdown passes for Prestonwood (7-2, 3-2 in TAPPS 1-I). Gipson, who rushed for more than 1,000 yards as a sophomore but suffered a torn ACL as a junior, has rushed 141 times for 1,207 yards and 14 touchdowns for Kimball (6-2, 4-1 in 11-4A).
Gipson’s injury kept him out of spring practice, but Kimball coach Carlton Nelson knew the senior would be in top shape by the fall.
“The kids coming back are so motivated, especially the seniors,” Nelson said. “They want to put a stamp on the season and their legacy and fulfill their goals.”
Jesuit quarterback Jack Brezette’s goals for last season ended in an injury that might convince some players to give up football. Brezette suffered a broken tibia and fibula when an opponent landed on his leg while he was attempting a pass.
Brezette now has a 15-inch steel rod in his leg, along with two screws in his knee and one in his ankle. But after throwing 13 touchdown passes in only three games as a junior, Brezette knew he wasn’t done with football.
“I definitely felt like I had to prove myself,” he said. “I had to live up to how I played in those first three games.”
Brezette has completed 135 of 215 passes for 2,065 yards and 24 touchdowns, and Jesuit (6-2, 3-2 in 9-5A) appears headed to the postseason for the third straight year. Brezette would like to make a deep playoff run, but like Kellogg, his injury changed his perspective.
He’s still serious about winning, but also about having fun.
“We’re only guaranteed three more games, and an injury can take it away from you at any time,” Brezette said. “I really want to enjoy it all.”
Follow Matt Wixon on Twitter at @mattwixon