A Waiting Game


photo by Grace Edgeworth

Senior Weston Conaway, with his right thumb wrapped, takes off his helmet on the sidelines, during a game against Plano West on Oct. 23. After a game-time decision on whether or not Conaway would play, Conaway was able to play one drive in this game, but has yet to play a whole game.

It was a normal practice for senior Weston Conaway, working on team drills to prepare for the upcoming season. He was working on a simple screen pass when, as he released the ball, he realized something wasn’t right — Weston’s thumb had collided with the helmet of a defensive lineman. As pain rushed to his right thumb, he knew his senior season would have to wait. 

Conaway is planning to fully return to play after fracturing his right thumb in practice at the beginning of the season. Conaway was the first string quarterback prior to the injury. Backup junior Jacob Buniff has filled the starting role during Conaway’s absence.

“It’s difficult not being able to contribute to the team on Friday nights,” Conaway said. “It’s hard to just watch because this is my last year as a Hawk and I really wanted to play.”

This was Conaway’s second year on varsity. As a junior, he shared snaps with starting quarterback Carson Harris. Conaway was the expected starter for this season.

“He’s waited his turn behind someone who is now playing Division I football; it was his turn to get after it,” offensive coordinator Jeff Hill said. “Unfortunately, the injury happens in practice, and here we are now, he’s still dealing with it five or six weeks later. He’s paid his dues, he was prepared, he has done everything he’s supposed to, and to have an injury like that happen sucks.”

Although the team has had injuries to other key players, such as tight end Wesley Douglas and wide receiver Nick Frazier, Conaway said the team has kept a positive mindset and the team’s goals are still the same.

“I had real high expectations for this team,” Conaway said. “We have a lot of good players and we are all really committed to this team. We all wanted to go deep and have a good playoff run.” 

Hill said the quarterback switch has not changed the game plan. The team is trying to take what is given to them and adjust to how the game is going. Hill said they are trying to play to each of their players strengths. 

“The coaches have done a great job play-calling for Jacob, getting him the right looks for passing and rushing,” senior tight end Daniel Querrey said. “The players have definitely continued to play hard and have had results that we would expect with Weston. I feel like our performance has not been reduced because Weston is not there.”

Conaway has been doing physical therapy to work on his grip strength and rehab his thumb. He has begun taking snaps again and throwing in practice to get him ready for his return. Hill said the two quarterbacks need to continue to have a competitive mentality, because if one is not ready to play, the other will. 

“It’ll be a slower transition just because it’s a tough position to just jump in and go,” Hill said. “It still comes down to a battle of who is ready to play each night.”

Conaway said he misses the excitement of running out with his teammates and getting hyped up before the game, and is eager to be healthy and play. Conaway played one drive against Plano West on Oct. 23, but rested most of the night. He will continue to share snaps with Buniff until he reaches 100%. 

“Going out there with all the guys I’ve been practicing with this offseason, putting a drive together and scoring, that’s what I’m looking forward to most,” Conaway said. “Scoring and winning as the starting quarterback: that’s a great feeling, one I’m looking forward to.”