Jameill Showers was excited heading into his senior season. The 6-foot-1, 205-pound quarterback was coming off a junior year that saw him lead Killeen Shoemaker on a surprising trip to the Class 5A state playoffs.
As the Grey Wolves only returning offensive starter from a year ago, the team was depending on their quarterback if they were to have a chance to replicate the success again in 2009. While Shoemaker's youth was obvious in the spring and throughout fall camp, Showers was the binding force for the team as they awaited the beginning of the season.
That all changed in their final scrimmage of the preseason, though. Showers, who had committed to Texas A&M last fall, went down with a broken collarbone against Round Rock. Though it was on his non-throwing side, he was still out for at least the entirety of his team's non-district schedule.
"I didn't know how to feel when it first happened," said Showers. "I was just really disappointed. I wanted to go out there and be a leader for our team and help us win. I felt helpless on the sideline. I knew it was going to be a tough task to win a lot of games, but now I had no say at all in things."
With the Grey Wolves going 0-3 in non-district play, they could at least find solace in the fact that their offensive leader would be back for the remainder of their games and could lead them to a playoff berth. However, he was out longer than he expected.
"I think the initial diagnosis was a little bit too optimistic," Showers said. "I wanted to be back by the time we played Bryan. That was my goal the whole time. I wanted to play in all of our district games. It didn't happen, though.
"I was cleared to throw and do some minor lifting at that time. I wasn't really even close to being able to play. The game was in Bryan, too, so I figured there would be some A&M fans there. I wanted to be able to play in front of them. I wasn't able to, though."
The Grey Wolves continued their losing streak as Showers looked for a return midway through district play. He was scheduled to return this past Friday night at A&M Consolidated, again in front of what would have been a lot of Aggie fans. Though Shoemaker was sitting at 0-6 entering the contest, there was still a chance for them to make the playoffs. However, they were thrown for a loop again.
"I didn't play versus Consol," said Showers. "I met with my doctor the week before the game. He cleared me to play and said I could, but he also said that there was a good chance I could reinjure it. He said that, if I was to take a hit and somebody landed on me, it would break my collarbone again pretty easily. It wasn't quite strong enough to hold up to the pressure.
"It just wasn't worth the risk. After the game, I saw (Oklahoma quarterback) Sam Bradford reinjure his shoulder against Texas because he came back too soon. I realized that that same thing could have easily happened to me."
Showers says it was hard to decide not to play and he felt that, in a way, he was disappointing his teammates.
"It was sort of like a Catch 22," he said. "In one way, I felt like I was sort of giving up on my teammates. I felt like I was letting them down quite a bit by not playing. On the other hand, I talked to my mom and dad about it and we knew that I shouldn't rush things so much that I would jeopardize myself again."
The three-star quarterback is now on the shelf for the year, something he says is hard to take.
"It's frustrating," Showers said. "This was supposed to be my senior year. Everybody looks forward to their senior season. I've had to just watch from the sideline. I've been practicing with the team in shells and doing 7-on-7, but I don't do team drills or anything. I don't like being on the sideline."
While most of his teammates will see their football careers come to an end after their Nov. 11 game against Temple, Showers has a lot to look forward to in the near future. He is graduating early and plans to enroll at A&M in January.
"That's honestly something that's kept me going through all this," he said. "I'll be on campus in the spring and get to go through spring ball with the team. By then, I'll be completely healed. I won't have to wait until August to play football again.
"I talked to coach Rossley and coach Sherman on Sunday night and they just told me to be ready to come in and work. I'm excited about getting down there and going through everything with the team. I've got about three more months and then I'll officially be an Aggie."