Prep football: Jensen fights pain to contribute for Brighton
Any question about how much Drew Jensen loves football was answered in before Brighton's region opener against Alta in September.
Immersed in a quarterback battle with Robbie Hutchins, Jensen faced two options continue playing with a broken wrist and live with arthritis for the rest of his life or have surgery and play three days after.
"I did not want to go in [to the doctor], but my dad wanted me to," Jensen said. "After the Hunter game, my wrist was the size of a tennis ball. We were still in a battle, and it wasn't set in stone who would go into region as the starter."
So Jensen had surgery Tuesday and played Friday.
"He hurt his hand during helmet camp [in July] but didn't tell anyone he was hurt," Brighton coach Ryan Bullett said. "He missed one day of practice to have his surgery, came back to practice the next day and played the same week. He's kind of fearless out there on the football field."
Jensen mostly was relegated to kickoff returns for the Alta game, but he slowly worked himself back into the offense. Coaches had him line up at receiver, defensive back and run on designed plays out of the shotgun formation.
Still wearing a cast as a precaution, he showcased his ability in the Class 5A quarterfinals against Herriman, rushing for 137 yards on 14 carries and scoring all five Bengal touchdowns in a 41-36 victory.
"I had a ton of pain but didn't let it bother me," said Jensen, who still can't take a snap from under center. "I would tape it up and it would feel good after that. After the game is when it really hurts. It's still in the process of healing."
Jensen was Brighton's starting quarterback as a freshman last season, throwing for nearly 1,000 yards with nine touchdowns. He added more than 300 yards rushing, demonstrating his athleticism. His numbers obviously are down this season, but his contributions are more magnified.
"We knew he was a good athlete and could do a lot of things for us," Bullett said. "He's a complete football player. We're glad he's on our team and we're glad to get him another two years after this year. He's been positive the whole year."
With defenses focusing on stopping Division-I recruit Osa Masina, Jensen has been an X-factor. He has averaged more than 10 yards per rush this season, and the Herriman game boosted his touchdown total to 10.
"I love to run the ball more than anything," Jensen said. "Especially behind our offensive line. They know how to open holes. Osa is a stud and is hard to stop. If that's what I'm going to be doing to help the team, why not?"
With the Bengals preparing to face Jordan in the 5A semifinals Friday, Jensen believes teamwork and camaraderie will help Brighton prevail.
"I just want to get it done for the team," he said. "The brotherhood on the team is incredible. We have a saying that football buddies is the best time and no one messes with a buddy of mine. We love each other to no end."