High School Football

Flyers running back hurt on the season’s first play determined to come back stronger

East St. Louis running back Jarrell Anderson watches from the sidelines as the Flyers play Belleville West on Saturday.
East St. Louis running back Jarrell Anderson watches from the sidelines as the Flyers play Belleville West on Saturday. BND photo/David Wilhelm

East St. Louis running back Jarrell Anderson believes he can come back better than ever from the torn ACL in his left knee.

Anderson, a 5-foot-11, 195-pound senior, was injured after a long gain in the Flyers’ first play from scrimmage Aug. 26 in a 40-28 victory against Providence Catholic at Clyde Jordan Stadium.

Anderson, who underwent surgery Wednesday, was on the sidelines in a wheelchair and on crutches Saturday when East Side defeated Belleville West 32-26.

“Everything’s going good,” Anderson said. “I’ve been icing it and trying to get into rehab. I’m trying to recover and get back to playing the sport I love.

“(Doctors) haven’t told me much lately. I have to stay off it for about two or three weeks. After that, it’s up to rehab and what I can do. I don’t think it will be a year; it’s up to me and my work ethic during rehab. If I work hard and I’m determined to come back, I’ll give myself six or seven months.”

Anderson, who has received a scholarship offer from Syracuse and is being recruited by Illinois, Nebraska and Southern Illinois University Carbondale, likely would be redshirted as a freshman to allow the knee to gain strength and mobility.

Reflecting on the play on which he was injured, Anderson said nothing felt out of the ordinary.


“I didn’t think it was anything serious,” said Anderson, who had 1,477 yards and 21 touchdowns as a junior. “Last year when we played CBC, I messed the same knee up. I felt the exact same pain, so I didn’t think too much of it. Plus, I’m double-jointed, so my knees buckle a lot. I got up and I was able to walk.

“But when I went to get the MRI, it hurt me. I shed a few tears. I was surprised a lot. I wanted to be out there with my guys and my family.”

Anderson said he’s doing “OK mentally.”

“I’ve got the fans and my teammates behind me,” he said. “I’ve got a lot of people supporting me. I can’t be down. There’s no wrong way to feel, but I want to be up.

“(Football) is the thing I love doing. This is the last thing I would want taken away from me, besides any other person. I love the game of football and I’ll do anything to get back to it. I’ve got to be around (my teammates) on game day. They’re a lot of fun. They’re doing what they’re supposed to do and that’s what I love about them.”

David Wilhelm: @DavidMWilhelm