Just six weeks ago Blue Springs South senior quarterback Chris Swingle broke his fibula and suffered ligament damage following a 38-yard run in the first game of the season.
Fast forward to Friday and Swingle was leading his Jaguars to a victory.
Swingle completed 6 of 13 passes for 181 yards and a touchdown in his return as South blanked Suburban Big Six foe Lee's Summit North 27-0 Friday night at Larry Stewart Memorial Stadium.
“I guess I heal pretty quick,” a smiling Swingle said, when asked about his remarkable recovery. “I worked hard on my rehab, and I worked with great people. All I thought about was getting back to the team, and getting back for Coach (Greg) Oder's 100th career win makes it even more special.”
In his 13th season, Oder has led the Jaguars to two Class 6 state championships – the second coming just two years ago – and the Jaguars have enjoyed as success as any school in the area.
But he didn't want to talk about milestones; he wanted to talk about how proud he was of his 4-4 squad.
“The kids played well tonight,” Oder said after the Jaguars’ first shutout of the season. “In the past, we've done something to shoot ourselves in the foot, made way too many mistakes, but tonight we gave a great effort on offense, defense and special teams.”
In addition to Swingle, Emery Ester carried the ball 16 times for 100 yards and two touchdowns, and linebacker Josh Watson grabbed a punt in the end zone after it was blocked by Briley Moore-McKinney and Trey Jimboy.
“Chace Mason did a nice job punting – he has all season – and that got the ball down deep in the South end of the field to set up Josh's touchdown, and Chris did a nice job running the offense,” Oder said. “This is a win we can build on the rest of the season.”
The first quarter belonged to Ester, who carried the ball five consecutive times for 69 yards. He ended the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run.
“Emery really set the tone for the offense on that series,” Swingle said. “The line did a great job opening holes for Emery and all our backs and a great job protecting me. It was a great to come back and win like we did tonight.”
A 3-yard pass from Swingle to tight end Kendall Blanton made it 14-0 in the second quarter, and Watson's recovery in the end zone gave the Jaguars a 21-0 lead early in the third period.
Emery's second 1-yard touchdown run capped the game, as the final PAT was blocked.
“To win No. 100 for Coach Oder and have it be a shutout is really special,” said Watson, who has verbally committed to play football at Colorado State University. “We can build on this win. We're all disappointed to be 4-4, but the most important football is coming up.”
Blanton said it was good to build momentum for district play, which begins Nov. 1.
“When it gets to district we're all 0-0. We're getting better each week. We're all proud of what Colton (Pogue, the senior who moved from linebacker to quarterback following Swingle's injury) did, but now we have our quarterback back and we're going to be playing our best football the rest of the season.”
OK, Coach, come on – how special was No. 100?
“It just means I've been here a long time and have been blessed with great players and great coaches,” Oder said.