Coldpspring (Texas) High may have finished short of the school's goal of a Class 3A Div. II state title, but their toughness can hardly be faulted for the setback. The proof of that comes in the person of senior tight end Caleb Shelly, who was one of the Trojans' stars in a 47-22 loss to three-time champion Carthage (Texas) High last week, even though he was playing with a badly broken foot.
While starting and playing nearly all game Shelly finished with a touchdown reception and also threw a 36-yard pass on a flea flicker. More importantly, he was one of the bedrocks of the team's run-based offense, helping set the stage for the Trojans to pick up a whopping 257 yards on the ground.
According to the Houston Chronicle, there was little consolation for the senior after the game, as he limped off to an offseason of foot surgery and a college search in which he's just beginning to get the attention his coach feels he deserves.
"We're disappointed," Shelly told the Chronicle. "But I couldn't be prouder of the guys. We made some big plays, and they made some big plays. They just made a few more."
While there were plenty of other reasons for Coldspring to look toward 2011 with optimism, few apply to Shelly, who refused to end his season early for his necessary surgery with the knowledge that the Trojans still had a shot at a state title. He knowingly played with the broken foot in playoff victories against Wimberly (Texas) High and Athens (Texas) High, all setting the stage for his heroics in Coldspring's state final loss.
With the season finally over, Shelly is reportedly schedule to undergo foot surgery at some point within the coming week. In the meantime, he's not waiting until he's healthy again to reflect on a memorable season for he and his teammates.
"Adversity has come at us all year," Shelly said. "We've overcome it to be playing here. A lot of people didn't think we had any chance to be playing for a state title, but we did. We didn't win it, but we should keep our heads up. Coldspring will be back next year. We don't rebuild, all the young guys we have will just reload."