Football: Turning the corner – Parker hopes for return to health

By Richard Greene | Published Saturday, July 22, 2017
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Jhett Parker’s speed and vision allowed him to lock up with a majority of receivers lined up across from him last season.

But the Decatur cornerback had to defend virtually with one arm. Battling a series of shoulder separations, Parker took the field in 11 of the Eagles’ 12 games with his left arm strapped down and only limited mobility in it.

STRETCHING OUT – Decatur’s Jhett Parker reaches to knock down a pass during the Eagles’ win over Stephenville last November. Parker expects to be fully healthy this season. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Parker refused to let the injury slow him, pulling down a team-high three interceptions and knocking down 16 passes.

“It was tough not being able to get my other arm up to make a play,” Parker said. “It was also hard tackling. I had to adjust and make sure I didn’t fall on it.”

When the Eagles start practice Aug. 7, the senior cornerback expects to have a clean bill of health.

“I’m completely recovered. I should be released July 25,” Parker said. “I have full rotation in my shoulder and have been working out.”

Parker first injured the shoulder during 7-on-7 in May of 2016. He reinjured the shoulder in the first game against Springtown and two other times during the year, including the first half of the bi-district game against Stephenville after an interception.

Parker expects to be better this season after playing through the injury last year.

“I hope to be 10 times better, get more interceptions and lot more deflections having both arms,” Parker said. “I had three interceptions last year but I could have had five or six.”

Along with him being healthy, Parker expects the Decatur secondary to be better with more experience. The unit returns three experienced players and will have Josh Sij moving to safety from outside linebacker.

The group’s last performance remains top of mind. Decatur allowed 453 yards and six touchdowns through the air in the 82-73 loss to Levelland in the Class 4A Division I area round game.

“It was rough. They had an amazing quarterback, who put the ball on target,” Parker said. “It’s motivation for this year.”

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