On the evening of April 6, 2011, playing football again didn’t seem a possibility for Blake Mahon.
The then-15-year-old freshman at Bridgeport High School suffered a broken vertebra, crushed disc and punctured lung after being thrown from a horse at his family’s home near Cottondale.
“It was millimeters away from severing my spinal cord,” Mahon recalls. “Now I think how close I was to never walking again.”
But the 6-6, 245-pound Mahon did far more than just walk. After two years of starring at tight end for the Coppell Cowboys, the former Bridgeport student inked a letter of intent Wednesday to play at Baylor University.
“It’s a huge miracle,” Mahon said. “It’s really a blessing from Lord Jesus Christ. It’s been a long process.”
Soon after the injury, Mahon showed an iron will to recover. Just six months after the fall, he returned to the basketball court for Bridgeport. Thinking his football career was over, he turned his focus to hoops.
“I felt basketball was what I was supposed to do,” Mahon said.
Then after the family moved to Coppell at the end of his sophomore year, he was talked into putting the pads on his junior year to return the gridiron. Playing with his brother Colby at quarterback, he caught two passes for 30 yards. As a senior, he caught 16 passes for 177 yards and two touchdowns.
College scouts fell in love with his size and potential. Before his senior season, he started fielding offers from schools across the nation, including Alabama. He picked Baylor.
“I really liked the staff at Baylor and wanted to be a part of that,” Mahon said.
Because of his size, Mahon said Baylor coaches told him there’s an opportunity for him to get on the field right way.
Since getting back on the field, he said his back has not given him any issues.
“Nothing hurts during a football game. I feel normal,” Mahon said.
But his path to Waco, and how far he’s come, has been far from normal.
“Most people are in awe that I can play football after that injury,” Mahon said.
- Few things can bring as much angst as ice and snow for basketball coaches this time of year. The last thing most want is to miss practice time right as the playoffs start. On the bright side, everyone is in the same boat
- Decatur’s Grayson Muehlstein was one of two quarterbacks TCU brought in this week. The Frogs also signed Fort Worth All Saints’ Foster Sawyer – the 17th ranked quarterback
- According to Rivals and its recruiting rankings, the SEC cleaned up with seven schools ranked in the top 10 classes. Texas A&M finished sixth. Rival Texas, a rival in name only these days, finished 20th with Charlie Strong’s first class
- The University Interscholastic League’s newest realignment produced mostly winners locally. Among the happiest had to be the Decatur basketball programs to land in 4A Region I and out of Region II with Argyle and Dallas ISD’s Lincoln, Carter, Madison and Wilmer Hutchins. Alvord also fared well, going back to the new Class 2A
- Some people mentioned the new realignment and the increased travel that 4A schools will face in the split division format. But no one better complain around Anthony. The school on the Texas and New Mexico border faces a 427-mile trip to Christoval for a 3-2A Division I district game. Anthony’s trip to Ozona is also nearly 400 miles
- Great conversation with UIL Athletic Director Mark Cousins Monday. He said the league had no influence on the number of inner-city schools that did not ask to be elevated this year. I thought the league might crack down on elevating schools to keep them out of districts with growing suburban schools. Cousins also said don’t expect the division splits to come anytime soon for basketball and other sports like football. Cousins said the twice per week travel is asking too much of student athletes. So football will remain the only sport with 12 state champions
- Finally, I am man enough to admit that I was wrong about the Super Bowl. Again, I learned my lesson: defense does win championships.
Richard Greene is the sports editor of the Messenger. Follow him on Twitter @wcm_rgreene.