By Daniel McCrosky
It was a play that senior quarterback Drew Reed had run hundreds of times during his spectacular career as the Arlington Tiger signal caller.
The Tigers were down to a talented Briarcrest team but Reed had been in this position before and was confident he and his teammates would be able to right the ship and do what they do best….win.
But on this particular play the results were not the usual run for a first down or throw for a touchdown. When Reed went back to throw and when he didn’t see anyone open he took off and when he was finally tackled he knew something was wrong. The pain and wait for after the game Reed thought. He had a game to win. Three plays later he heard a pop in the collar area and his biggest fear was confirmed. He was seriously injured.
And just like that, the best quarterback in Western Tennessee was out with a broken collar bone.
When Arlington lines up for their District 14-AAA senior night contest against an improved Bolton squad tomorrow night, Reed won’t be in the starting lineup but he will be on the sidelines, as he has ever since that Briarcrest game, giving advice to strong-armed quarterback Hunter Sheffield and giving words of encouragement to his teammates.
Because above all else, Drew Reed is a leader. Yes he has the John Madden-like stats to back up his leadership but as Tiger football coach Chris Wiley said recently, “It has been a honor to be his coach. We might has taught him a couple of things but the things he brings and the things he does on the field and the decisions he makes that turns nothing plays into scoring plays has not been coached by us. He has always had it.
“Drew Reed is a great football player,” Wiley said. “He is like a coach on the field and a great leader and person off it. Drew Reed is a winner and where ever he plays on Saturdays, and he is a Division 1 quarterback no doubt, he will make that team a winner.”
Reed has always had the natural instinct of turning a negative play into a positive one and for those who might count the 6-2, 185-pounder out for the year, well just has he has never given up on a play, don’t count him out.
“It’s the doctor’s decision but I had surgery the Tuesday after the Briarcrest game (September 25) and I have been in a sling ever since but I go back this week and if all goes well I can start throwing again,” Reed said. “I am going to do all I can to play this year but I can’t worry about it because it’s out of my control. If I can I will but if I can’t then I will be on the sidelines helping Hunter. Hunter is a good quarterback with a good arm. I just want to win so I am going to do whatever it takes to help.”
Winning and Drew Reed pretty much go together. Ever since he took over as starting quarterback for the Tigers in the second game of his sophomore season, the Tigers record is 21-7 and his personal stats are other worldly. In the 29 games he has played, Reed has thrown an amazing 73 touchdowns against only 12 interceptions for 6,286 yards. He has lead the Tigers to their first ever playoff victory last year when he went Madden again but connecting on all 20 of his passes for 232 yards and six touchdowns. He averaged 14 yards per completion.
“That game right there shows you what type of player he is,” Wiley said. “It would be hard enough to go 20-for-20 passing in a practice with no contact but he did it during a playoff game, on the road and we were throwing it downfield. He is one of a kind.”
Reed was so focus on winning the game he didn’t realize until he finished the game what he had done.
“I had no ideal,” Reed said. “My teammates made so good catches but I was only concern about winning. Helping the team win is the most important thing.”
Surprisingly, Reed hasn’t been offered a football scholarship yet but the three schools recruiting him, including the University of Memphis, has contacted him since the injury and told him that nothing has changed as far as they were concern.
“Memphis calls me all the time,” Reed said. “I would love to play for them but I can’t worry about that right now. We still got games left on the schedule and we want to win the District title and go to the playoffs so I got to help the team win. Helping the team win in my only concern right now.”
Spoken like a true winner and leader.