MIDLAND, Texas (KMID/KPEJ) – The Midland High Bulldogs have fought through adversity and injury to start the 2023 season. While the Bulldogs remain undefeated headed into week ten of the regular season, it didn’t come without a battle.

Someone who is a crucial addition to this Bulldogs offense, junior quarterback Stroman Bridges is back in the lineup after six weeks on the sideline from a broken collar bone.

“I put my arm down as I was being tackled, felt something was off, touched it, my collar bone was sticking straight up, turned to coach Fortune and said, ‘Coach I broke my collar bone,'” Bridges shrugged. “Then I kind of just ran off the field and from then on it was just kind of waiting it out, waiting to see when I could come back.”

Out before the season even started. Stroman was helping his team is a scrimmage against Lubbock Cooper when he fell and broke his collarbone. Since then, he has played three games all season long. But in the meantime, he was doing what he could on the sideline.

“I was trying to keep the leadership up as much as I can, you know, get the guys going. I had a few different roles. I helped Tristan out a lot, I was kind of like his assistant, making sure he knew what’s going on,” Bridges laughed. “Did some training stuff, had to run and get guys electrolyte tablets, they were cramping and stuff. Just making sure the guys were going, helping where I could, doing whatever.”

Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, he wasn’t alone in the hearing journey.

“Beginning of camp, first two weeks or something I think we lost 8 starters on both sides of the ball, to injury,” he sighed. “It was just like a wave, it was a tsunami hitting the team but I think we pushed through, a lot of guys stepped up and it seemed to work just fine. Guys stepping up and being there for the team when their name was called.”

Fortunately, most if not all Bulldogs have since returned throughout this season, including Bridges himself. Just last week, Bridges threw one touchdown, rushed three touchdowns himself, and ran for 99 yards in their game against Odessa High.

“When I was able to come back, I’m just glad I was able to help the team, I’m glad I didn’t come back and inhibited the team, I helped the team. I was just playing at that point, there was no expectations, I hadn’t really done anything yet so, I was just going out there and playing football.”

While he had a break out game against the Bronchos, to him, the score and his stats, didn’t matter.

“I mean it was real important to me. Football has been a part of my life, my whole life,” he added. “My dad was a college football coach when I was younger, then he moved here when I was in second grade and I just played football just my whole life and being away from it, I mean it wasn’t that long but it was long enough to make you realize, ‘Dang I missed it.’ And then when I was able to get back out there, I was just so happy to be back out on the field.”

He said this moment was the moment he realized how important it was for him to keep fighting and get back out on the turf with his team, and how important football was to him.

“Don’t take it for granted. I mean, football is like, I mean there’s always people that complain about, ‘Oh football is rough, football is hard,’ but when you’re there and there’s no football, it makes you realize, ‘Dang I kind of like it when it’s rough and it’s hard and you just want to get back out there and play.'”

When asked if there was any advice or words of wisdom he could give to those still injured, he answered very blunt.

“Stay positive. You’ll get back out there eventually, maybe this year, maybe next year, but, I mean, injuries happen, it’s football. So, these guys, all of the guys that got hurt, some lost their senior year, some lost much more than that, I mean it was just hard for some of the guys, but I think we pushed through it as a team real well.”