Sideline Pass: Jim Bradford 9/8

Jim Bradford

By Jim Bradford PrepsKC Senior Writer
Posted: September 8, 2015 - 5:45 PM

LAWRENCE, Kan. — Jason Meeker and a bunch of his teammates had been dreaming of last Friday night for a long time.

All of the hard work in the offseason. All the early-morning weight room sessions. All the sweat and, undoubtedly, the tears.

It was supposed to all start to pay off for the Shawnee Mission West Viking football team.

It may still — especially after an impressive 34-26 win at Lawrence-Free State for the Vikings last Friday night — but Meeker is most likely done. And he didn’t even really have a chance to get his uniform dirty.

Meeker took a handoff from West quarterback Adam Rellihan, took it over the back of the left tackle and busted free for a nifty 55-yard gain on his first carry of the season just moments into the first quartet Friday night.

Unfortunately, he got spun around as he got inside the Free State 15-yard line and landed awkwardly when he was finally tackled at the 12-yard line.

He knew instantly that something was wrong. So did most everyone in black and gold. Just one play into the 2015 season for Meeker, a junior, and he was carted off the field. Done with an apparent broken ankle.

“I feel so bad for (Jason),” West head coach Tim Callaghan said. “He and the guys had put in so much hard work and to end it like that is tough.”

Meeker’s varsity season ended with one heck of a yards per carry average, but that’s hardly any consolation.

While Meeker exited way too early, senior running back Rahjee Byers stepped up big for West. The plan was to run a two-back beast out at opponents this year with Meeker and Byers, but suddenly that changed. Byers, who had spent all of last season out with a knee injury, stepped in and rushed for 120 yards on 23 carries, including two touchdowns.

The peaks and valleys of the high school football season have surfaced way to early over at SM West, that’s for sure.

This is a brilliant game, but man, it sure can play cruel tricks on us all.