BOONE – When he ran out to score an extra point against Alexander Central on Friday, October 8, it had been a long time since Watauga senior Carter Everett had seen the field. Everett gave his team an early 7-0 lead in his first game on the field in 175 days.
While the game against Alexander Central was at the stadium of the intended return, the actual decision to bring him to the game was spot on. Just 12 hours before the game, Everett was at a doctor’s office to see if he could play that night.
“I couldn’t sleep much last night, I was really excited,” said Everett after the game.
In a playoff game against Dudley on April 16, six months earlier, a defender curled up in Everett’s right leg and tore his anterior cruciate ligament. While advances in medicine have made the injury something players can recover from, the 2020-21 sports calendar has been postponed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which meant a shortened off-season and a high chance it would be a good one Portion would miss its senior season.
After playing linebacker, running back and kicker, Everett found that he would limit himself to kicking his return. He expected to be back by mid-October and was determined to go back and make a difference.
After giving the green light to play, Everett said he was excited to get back on the field all day.
Pioneers head coach Ryan Habich praised Everett’s persistence in returning from injury, noting that the senior never missed a training session or game despite having to watch from the sidelines.
“He worked his tail off and had the goal of coming back in October,” said Habich after the game against AC. “We didn’t know if he would be playing tonight. He had a doctor’s appointment that we couldn’t postpone. I think he told me at noon (he was allowed to play). “
Although limited to a few extra points – both of which he scored – Everett said it was so good to help the team get the 28-21 win.
“It felt great to be helping in any way and my teammates lifted me up,” said Everett. “It kills me not to play all the games like in previous years, but I’m glad I can help in any way.”
He’s now kicking his leg with a splint, but Everett said he could barely feel it, adding that everything was “about normal”.
“I was in this field six months ago and it hurt so much to run and then for the next few weeks I couldn’t walk,” said Everett. “Medicine is insane.”
On the field, Everett’s return brings a new aspect to the team’s offense, Habich said, with more consistent point-to-shot and field goal opportunities that give the Pioneers an extra chance to win.