The 2012 football season was a good one for Jackson Central-Merry quarterback Terrance Kinnie.
His rushing and passing stats combined for more than 2,000 yards, and he was named the All-West Tennessee Sophomore of the Year.
He had a good spring and summer in 2013 and felt good about his junior season with the players in his own class and last year’s senior group around him. He felt like 2013 was going to be a breakout year for him.
All of that came to a screeching halt during a scrimmage against Westview just before the season began.
“I was running down the field, and a referee was in my way,” Kinnie said. “I tried to plant and turn to go around him, but my foot got stuck in the turf there at [UT Martin’s Hardy M. Graham Stadium] and my knee buckled.”
His knee buckled because his ACL tore. The surgery he had the following week ended any hopes he had of playing his junior year.
“All I could think about once I accepted that I wasn’t playing was just trying to come back and go harder,” Kinnie said. “I wanted to be back to 100 percent as soon as possible to help my team and my brothers out there fighting on Friday nights.”
Kinnie said he’s 100 percent now. He admits he was a little leery of making cuts and taking hits, but when the Cougars began playing in scrimmages and 7-on-7s in July, he got over that pretty quickly.
“It feels good now, and I’m ready to go,” Kinnie said. “I wasn’t going to rush back because I wanted to be fully healed, but I wanted to come back as soon as I could.”
Kinnie is back. And in less than two weeks, so will football season. Kinnie lost his junior year, so he wants to make the most of his final year playing in the green and gold of JCM.
“Our goals this year are the same as they are every year: Win state,” Kinnie said. “But we know there’s a lot to do before that.
“Winning district is a big goal for us, and winning our city games, too. But winning state is what we really want to get to.”
Kinnie has state-wide aspirations for himself as well.
“I want to win Mr. Football,” Kinnie said with a smile when asked about personal goals. “Whatever I’ve got to do – pass, run, tackle, block, kick … whatever.
“I want to do it as best as I can so I can be the best that I can be and help this team win.”
JCM head coach Orentheus Taylor said he’s proud of his quarterback for fighting through the rehabilitation process and getting back onto the field.
“We’re bringing him back probably a little more slowly than he’d like for us to, but he’s getting there,” Taylor said. “But you want that out of your guys.
“You want players that want to be on the field even if they’re too hurt to play because you know how much they’re willing to give. But when you have those guys, our jobs as coaches to keep them safe become that much more important.”
Kinnie is looking forward to being back on the field again against teams like Liberty, North Side, South Side and the first game of the season against Dyersburg at Lane Field.
“It’s going to be great for me to get back on that field in a game uniform for a real game,” Kinnie said. “I might take a minute to just enjoy being there in the early part of warm-ups, but once we kick off, it’s game time. We want to start with a win.”
Brandon Shields, 425-9751