Quarterback Kevin Folsom led two more third-quarter Northwest drives after he broke his left ankle in a 38-0 win over West last Oct. 3.
“Basically, the kid’s helmet just hit me in the right place,” Folsom said. “At the time, I didn’t think it was a big deal. I didn’t think it was anything but sprained. I kept playing.”
But he was hobbling after chasing down a defender following an interception. He didn’t play the rest of the season, finishing with 704 passing yards.
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“I felt like I let my team down,” he said. “… I’m even more motivated to have a great season. It’s my senior season, and I want to do well. I want to play smart. I don’t want to let my team down again.”
Northwest (7-3) lost in the first round of the Class 6A playoffs to Free State.
With Folsom back, the Grizzlies are poised to show they are contenders again.
Northwest has receiving weapons in Alex Bott and Martese Mullins. And while running back Keshaun McGaugh graduated (1,181 regular-season rushing yards, tops in the City League), speedy junior Jahlyl Rounds returns.
“Jahlyl is comfortable with the offensive line and trusts that the hole will be created and won’t be in a hurry to make a cut. What he’ll bring is a threat, a receiving threat out of the backfield,” Northwest coach Steve Martin said.
Martin also plans to utilize senior Antonio Joyner, who is physical and elusive with improved speed.
Both backs are around 5-foot-10, which means they could be difficult to see behind the Grizzlies’ line. There are three linemen at 6-4 or 6-5, and all five are between 215 and 285 pounds. Gage Fletcher returns as a starter.
“This is one of our biggest, most athletic lines,” Martin said. “… Defensively we’ve got Duall Watson and Branden Ho, who will be three-year starters for us, and this will be the most athletic defensive line that we’ve rolled out at Northwest.”