EMORY, Va. — Connor Beeson cut a solitary figure at Patrick Henry High School’s football stadium 12 months ago, laboring through agility drills and other repetitive rehabilitation exercises as he worked his way back from a severe leg injury.
This spring, Beeson is healthy, happy, having fun with his teammates and paying frequent visits to the end zone at the facility his team calls home.
Beeson scored two touchdowns on Saturday afternoon as PH powered its way to a 30-8 non-district triumph over the Grundy Golden Wave.
The Rebels (3-1) have won three straight since a season-opening setback to the Holston Cavaliers, and Beeson has been a big reason why.
He ripped off a 21-yard touchdown run, hauled in a 13-yard scoring strike from Chase Brown and also converted a pair of two-point conversion runs on Saturday more than a year after his 2020 season ended in agony.
With 5:23 remaining in a state semifinal loss to the Galax Maroon Tide, Beeson broke the fibula and tibia — along with tearing a ligament — in his right leg. Stretchered off the field, loaded on a MedFlight helicopter and transported to Bristol Regional Medical Center, Beeson eventually underwent surgery that required a plate, eight screws and a band to stabilize the torn ligament.
Beeson is back to 100% 15 months later and running with purpose.
Call it a comeback.
“Oh my gosh, I can’t describe it,” Beeson said. “It’s crazy; this time last year I was rehabbing and hoping for this. Now, we’re playing football, and I’m enjoying it.”
Beeson, a junior, is also up to 5-foot-10 and 180 pounds.
“After I started getting my legs about me, I began hitting the gym and putting some muscle on,” Beeson said. “I’ve put on about 10 pounds.”
The speed remains.
“He’s our horse,” said PH running back/linebacker Cody Pruitt. “As long as we get the blocks, he gets the ball downfield.”
Beeson has now totaled five touchdowns this season.
“He’s a special player,” said Patrick Henry coach Seth Padgett. “He’s got all the tools — he’s fast, he’s got the moves, he can read blocks. He’s a player that practices harder than any player I’ve ever coached in 15 years of doing this. That’s what makes him so special.”
PH put Saturday’s game away in the second quarter by scoring on three straight possessions in the span of 5 minutes, 47 seconds.
Brown hooked up with 6-foot-3, 250-pound tight end Ean Rhea, who beat Grundy defensive back Isaac Coleman in single coverage, on an 18-yard touchdown pass to get the scoring started with 9:56 left in the first half.
Beeson and Brown followed with TD runs as PH firmly gained control. Brown finished with two TD passes, rushed for a touchdown and also boomed a few long punts.
Meanwhile, Brown (15 carries, 90 yards), J-Kwon McFail (14 carries, 80 yards) and Beeson (11 carries, 36 yards) gave Grundy fits.
“On film, they look good,” said Grundy coach Craig Plymal. “But they look better in person with this backfield.”
Through the first three quarters, Grundy (2-2) had committed two turnovers, recorded just two first downs, punted six times and managed a mere 36 yards of total offense.
Ian Scammell (11 carries, 43 yards) got the Golden Wave on the board with 2:30 remaining on a 11-yard scoring jaunt to avoid the shutout.
“The field position and our inability to get those first downs was huge,” Plymal said.
Grundy had a size advantage, but PH’s defense was up to the challenge.
“They were a little bit bigger,” Pruitt said. “But we just kept fighting.”
Patrick Henry will be in for a fight on Friday night when the Rebels travel to Chilhowie (2-2) in a marquee Hogoheegee District showdown as both teams are in need of a win to keep their playoff hopes alive.
“Our biggest thing is just trying to get better from game-to-game,” Beeson said.
Grundy 0 0 0 8—8
Patrick Henry 0 22 0 8—30
PH – Rhea 18 pass from Brown (Beeson run)
PH – Beeson 21 run (run failed)
PH – Brown 6 run (Beeson run)
PH – Beeson 13 pass from Brown (Rhea run)
G – Scammell 11 run (Scammell run)
First Downs: G 6, PH 14; Rushes-Yards: G 30-100, PH 45-190; Passing Yards: G 4, PH 41; Comp.-Att.-Int.: G 2-9-0, PH 5-9-0; Fumbles-Lost: G 2-2, PH 3-0; Penalties-Yards: G 3-15, PH 4-30; Punts-Average: G 7-26.4, PH 4-46.
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