Football: Returning to action – Senior overcomes second knee injury to help Eagles

By Richard Greene | Published Wednesday, November 29, 2017
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Hitting the Field Again

HITTING THE FIELD AGAIN – Decatur’s David Carroll (91) missed four games after suffering a knee injury against Midlothian Heritage. He returned at the start of the Eagles’ current five-game winning streak. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

David Carroll stood on the sideline and watched as the Decatur defense struggled to stop Wichita Falls Hirschi’s Daimarqua Foster in October’s 69-36 loss.

“It was real sad, watching and knowing you couldn’t do anything. You just have to trust in your teammates that they can get it done,” Carroll said.

For a second straight season, the big bookend defensive end missed a portion of the schedule after suffering a torn medial collateral ligament in his knee. This year, he went down in the first quarter of the Midlothian Heritage game. Carroll said a Heritage lineman fell on him as he was trying to get off a block.

“It was almost like deja vu,” said Decatur trainer Fernando Escobar. “It was the same leg as the previous year and nearly the same type of hit.”

Carroll points out he was fortunate to injure the MCL instead of a possible career-ending anterior cruciate ligament tear.

“With the MCL tear, it’s a fast recovery. You work out and do what the trainers tell you to do,” Carroll said.

Carroll’s injury was followed by the Eagles also losing fellow defensive end Braxton Roth two games later. Decatur was without both against its first two District 4-4A Division I opponents – Argyle and Hirschi.

“When we did go out, we had guys step up and do their part to make us a better team,” Roth said.

Decatur dropped its first two district games to Argyle and Hirschi, allowing more than 60 points in both games and 819 yards rushing.

Roth and Carroll returned for the Gainesville game. With the two on the field, Decatur slowed Calion Baker and company enough to get the victory. Carroll had a tackle for a loss and a quarterback hurry in Decatur’s 65-51 victory.

“It was fun coming back and being out there with my teammates,” Carroll said.

Since the two defensive ends returned, Decatur has won five straight and played increasingly better on the defensive side of the ball.

Decatur blanked Sanger in the second half of a victory. The Eagles then got timely stops in wins over Abilene Wylie and Andrews to reach the third round of the playoffs for the first time since 2013.

“The more good players you have healthy, the better you are going to be,” said Decatur coach Mike Fuller about getting Carroll and Roth back to the defense.

“It takes a lot of courage to go back out there after you hurt a knee and play.”

Since returning to action, Carroll has not had trouble with the knee.

“You just tape it, brace it up,” Carroll said. “It doesn’t bother me.”

At 6-3 and 215 pounds, Carroll brings size to the end of the line, though he is usually giving up a few pounds to offensive tackles. He likes to use his quickness and a spin move to get past them. But he knows part of his job is freeing up the linebackers to make plays.

Carroll, who has a sack and four tackles for losses in six games, is grateful for the opportunity to get back on the field and enjoy the Eagles’ playoff run.

“I’m grateful for my teammates and to have more time to get back on the field,” he said.

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