There will be a day when Titus McCoy is able to reflect on his football career at Center Grove High School with a sense of tremendous satisfaction.
Today is not that day.
McCoy, a running back whose natural leadership abilities make him the unquestioned pulse of everything the Trojans do offensively, has played sparingly this season due to a high ankle sprain sustained on his fourth carry in a Week 1 loss to Warren Central.
“I made a cut on a run from the outside coming in,” McCoy recalled. “I made a move on the safety and saw green grass. Then someone from the opposite side came and just cut my ankle.”
McCoy missed the remainder of the opener. He also sat out the second and third games, wins at Whiteland and Ben Davis, respectively.
It marked the first time since eighth grade McCoy missed substantial time during a football season.
Ironically, McCoy’s 2012 injuries — a sprained MCL, PCL and ACL — occurred in Game 1 of that season.
McCoy didn’t return in the 2012 season. This time, he has.
“Being on the sidelines was awful, but I think I adapted well to it. No matter what, I like cheering for my brothers on this team,” McCoy said. “The hardest part were practices because I wasn’t able to go through the trenches with them.
“At times I got down, but this team does a great job picking each other up. The coaches come out to practice full of energy. I feel you have to lead by example. Practice isn’t fun for most people, but I love it just because of your limited time playing football.”
McCoy returned Week 4 at home against Carmel. He carried the ball five times for ninr yards during the Trojans’ 19-6 conquest in the annual Copper Kettle matchup.
Entering Friday night’s 51-7 dusting of Pike, McCoy had carried the football a total of 33 times all season.
He had one fewer rush than that in last season’s riveting 35-34 Class 6A semistate victory against Avon.
Only three times in McCoy’s spectacular junior campaign did he account for fewer than 22 carries, the three being blowout wins against North Central, Pike and Jeffersonville. He once carried the football 26 times against Ben Davis as a ninth-grader.
The process has been slow. At times even aggravating. But McCoy is determined to regain the form that allowed him to rush for 1,912 yards and 28 touchdowns as a junior.
“It’s actually really frustrating getting all the (preseason) hype, all this praise, and then coming out and just laying an egg the first game,” McCoy said. “But I think I’ve rebounded well.
“Right now I feel like I’m 100 percent. There are no personal goals anymore. Now I want this ring.”
Knowing what a competitor McCoy is, it pained Center Grove coach Eric Moore to sit the senior for two weeks.
However, he knew time to assist the ankle’s healing process would be required if the program is going to make its annual deep postseason run.
Moore wants McCoy to be at his 2015 form when sectionals start.
“Frustration is the No. 1 thing. Not to see him be able to perform like we know he could have this season,” Moore said. “Now that Titus is getting back, we’ve got to be patient and not press the situation.
“You can always hear Titus during a practice or game. Really, the big lift for us is in practice, because he practices so stinking hard. He makes everybody accountable for playing hard. He’s the leader of our team.”
And now, McCoy is able to lead by example once again.
Yearly rushing totals for Center Grove senior Titus McCoy, a starter since the 2013 season: