PECULIAR — When John Perry took over the Nixa football program in January, quarterback Reid Potts got to forming a relationship with the new head coach immediately.
Perry had a run-pass-option system that not many are capable of running at the high school level. Studying the offense was critical as the two hoped to turn the Eagles around.
But when Potts tore his ACL on July 29 — a month before the season was set to begin — the senior knew what he wanted to do.
“It was my senior year and Coach Perry meant a lot to me,” Potts said. “I didn’t want to miss out on my senior year. This was the best year of my life.”
Potts didn’t tell many, but Perry revealed after Nixa’s season-ending 18-15 loss to Raymore-Peculiar in the Class 6, District 3 championship on Friday night that Potts played the entire season on a torn ACL.
Potts also thinks he may have torn his meniscus when his knee blew out on him when attempting to run in the Eagles’ Sept. 4 win over Joplin.
“He played his entire season on a torn ACL and there are not too many people in the entire United States of America tough enough to do that,” Perry said. “He is a true champion and he’s a great football player. He battled tonight.
“We never told nobody. He played his entire year on a torn ACL which is unbelievable.”
Potts, at 6-foot-2, made most of his plays from the pocket throughout the season. His quick reads in the run-pass-option system helped him get rid of the ball quickly. Even on a torn ACL and probable meniscus tear, he could move outside the pocket to buy time and hit open receivers.
“It’s amazing,” fellow senior Steven Ward II said. “He’s a player and I’m glad he came back from that injury and came back to play for us.”
Although the season came to an end a little earlier than he hoped, Potts can rest easy knowing he’s leaving the Nixa football program in a better place than where he found it.
Nixa’s season ends at 9-3 and it had its best season since a second-place finish at state in 2014. With plenty of young talent and the second-year of a head coach coming back, the Eagles are on the rise.
“I love this school and I love this team,” Potts said. “I’m excited about the future. I hope they go win a state championship soon.”
Wyatt D. Wheeler is a reporter and columnist with the Springfield News-Leader. You can contact him at 417-371-6987, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter at @WyattWheeler_NL. You can subscribe to his free “Bears Beat” newsletter on News-Leader.com. He’s also the co-host of Sports Talk on Jock Radio weekdays from 4-6 p.m.