Embracing the role: from a season-ending injury to team leadership

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MOBERLY - Moberly Football Head Coach Cody McDowell has a lot to say when it comes to his star senior.

"He's a kid that people gravitate toward. He leads vocally really well. He leads by example really well," McDowell said. "He gives great effort. He's a great person on the field, off the field, in the locker room, in the weight room, in class, in the hallway. He's genuine. He's humble."

High praise for a young athlete, but the road to get there wasn't an easy one.

Jared Herron, a linebacker and tight end for the Spartans, broke his leg in week six of his junior year, sidelining him for the rest of the season.

"Warmups, we were playing Hannibal at their place. I planted, and I heard it pop. That's when it broke, that day,” Herron said.

But even with a broken leg, Herron didn't give up on his team.

"I traveled to all the games, stayed at every practice. I was there, and I helped people that were playing my position last year, coached them up," he said.

Through the chaos of his junior year, Herron had one thing in particular on his mind.

"I just started focusing on my senior year after that. This is what I was looking forward to.”

With a lot of hard work in the off season, Herron seemed to have picked up right where he left off. 

"He had a really good spring. We knew where we were going to be with him as we rolled into the season," McDowell said. "He was going to have that role again."

This time, a role that Herron embraced not only on the field but also in the locker room.

"It's tough, and everyone is looking to you to lead them. A lot of the players now are newer, so I have to be a guy that's telling everybody what to do and helping everybody," Herron said. "It's a lot of eyes on me, and I'm not really used to that yet. Well I am now, but at the beginning I wasn't," he said.