Broken ankle can't halt Hawley QB Stokes' pursuit of milestone
Brandon McAuliffe, Special to the Reporter-News
Oct. 7, 2017http://www.reporternews.com/story/sport ... 743267001/
HAWLEY - A month ago, Hawley senior quarterback Quay Stokes’ season was over — just 274 yards shy of joining the 10,000 total yards club when he broke his ankle in the Bearcats 34-21 season-opening win over Munday.
The injury seemingly ruined his chance to be the second quarterback in as many years to achieve the feat, after Levelland’s Nick Gerber did last season.
Stokes had surgery to insert seven screws just days after the Sept. 1 injury, but someone forgot to tell him that was going to be the end of his high school career.
Remarkably, exactly one month after surgery, Stokes returned to the field Friday night and hit 10,000 career yards with just under nine minutes to play on a 20-yard completion to Jayce Hardee in Hawley’s 28-0 win over Seymour.
“God had a plan for me to come back and help the Hawley Bearcats to a win over a good Seymour Panthers team,” Stokes said. “There was never a doubt in my mind that I was going to come back and get that (career) achievement, but it’s a team achievement. I couldn’t have done it without my coaches and teammates.”
For Hawley coach Mitch Ables, and the entire Hawley coaching staff, seeing the senior quarterback get a career milestone was important. Stokes was a major part of the Bearcats plans on Friday.
“The thing about Quay is you can call a pass play and he’ll pull it down and take off and make something happen,” Ables said. “He definitely makes us look good sometimes. (The coaches) were telling me how close he was and I just wanted to play the game and knew he would make it happen.”
Stokes, meanwhile, wanted to deflect the attention to his offensive line that has three cousins on it — Tate Thompson, Coby Adkins and Bo Thompson. The trio was happy to have played a part in the big night for Stokes.
“It was the greatest thing in the world and this team loves him,” said freshman Bo Thompson. “He knows how to play. It was a big punch when he went down, but all we could do was keep on going.
Added Adkins, a senior: “It’s a special thing to block for my own family. He is a special player and is athletic and led us to this win. He loves this team, this is his family and he will do anything for us. I knew he was going to be back before the season was over.”
Friday night, Stokes didn’t look like someone who had missed a month of action as he completed 21 of 25 passes for 271 yards and ran for 61 yards. He threw for two touchdowns and ran for two more.
Stokes defied all odds in even being back on the field as quickly as he was as broken bones typically take six weeks at a minimum to heal, and the original prognosis called for the senior to miss as many as three months.
Instead, he set his goal at the time of the injury to be back in time for the Seymour game.
Tate Thompson, a sophomore, knew that timeline was important to his older cousin.
“It’s been a lifetime experience I’ve wanted to have since he was starting as a freshman,” Thompson said. “I’m so excited he came back and did such a great job. We were supporting him the whole way.”
Ables also knew that getting back was important to his signal caller.
“He missed it,” he said. “When we had it in the bag, he told me ‘I missed it,’ and you have to love that kid. He’s all effort all the time, and he did everything he could to get back when he did. After the operation, he penciled this date in and it's good for us because he gets one under his belt before district.”
While Stokes’ on-field leadership had been missing for the last month, he never missed a beat behind the scenes when the crowds weren’t around.
“Even when he was out, he was in film sessions coaching people up,” Ables said. “The thing about him is when you put him on the field, it’s like having another coach on the field. We are blessed to have him back.”