COVINGTON, Ga. — If Newton senior quarterback, Myron Middlebrooks has his way, he’ll get the chance to put on the Rams blue and white at least one more time this season.
No, it won't happen Friday at Sharp Stadium during Newton's senior night game. But as Newton looks ahead to a first round playoff game next Friday, Middlebrooks is optimistic about a return then,
Middlebrooks was knocked out of the first half of Newton’s game against No. 2 Archer several weeks ago, while the Rams were up 12-0 on the Tigers and driving. He sustained a huge hit from an Archer defender and after being piledriven to the ground, Middlebrooks said he knew something wasn’t right.
“I stayed on the ground for a minute after that hit,” Middlebrooks said. “I kind of thought there was something wrong with my shoulder again. I tried to play through it, but I just couldn’t do it.”
The 6-foot-2 signal caller initially feared it was a broken collarbone — the same one, in fact, that Middlebrooks said he had broken in the eighth grade. But gratefully, it wasn’t that.
“I kind of thought it was that or something wrong with my shoulder again,” Middlebrooks said. “I was hoping it wasn’t what they originally said it was.”
Middlebrooks says he injured the area where his sternum and collarbone are connected. The good news with that is now that the Rams have qualified for the Class AAAAAAA state playoffs, thanks to last week’s blowout win at Shiloh, there may be a good chance he’ll see the field again under center.
“Hopefully that’s the plan,” he said. “I was trying to practice some on Monday. At first I was able to throw the ball pretty well. And then when I started trying to apply more pressure, you know, putting zip on the ball, it started to hurt a bit again.”
So that means rest and rehab is the prescribed formula for Middlebrooks to get back in action. Newton (6-3, 5-2 in Region 8-AAAAAAA) finishes the season Friday night with a 7:30 p.m. kickoff with Rockdale (1-7, 0-4) at Sharp Stadium for senior night.
And while Middlebrooks wishes he could be in uniform with his brothers, he’s fine with the opportunity he has to help tutor his young understudy in sophomore, Neal Howard.
Howard came in to relieve Middlebrooks in the 20-19 loss to Archer. He then got his first start two weeks later against Grayson, and won his first game as a starter last week.
Middlebrooks said he enjoys watching Howard respond to being thrown in the fire.
“Some quarterbacks, when they get down or get injured or whatever, they look at the person that’s below them like they don’t want him to get their spot,” he said. “But Neal’s like my little brother, so it’s not like that. I help him out in practice and in the game and just whenever I can.”
And Middlebrooks believes that Howard has shown enough to prove that Newton can still win at a high level with him in the lineup.
“I’ve been real impressed with Neal,” Middlebrooks said. “He really hasn’t missed a beat. He comes in and he really does what he does to keep the offense flowing.”
But none of that means Middlebrooks won’t take his place back in the starting lineup if his body cooperates with him. Undoubtedly, he wants to continue stacking his highlight reel for college scouts. Middlebrooks said he’s gotten recruiting attention from the likes of Morehouse, Clark-Atlanta and Catawba. He’ll be in attendance at Saturday’s Morehouse vs. Clark-Atlanta game.
However, Newton, by virtue of likely holding down the No. 3 spot in the Region standings, will probably draw a trip to Parkview (6-3, 4-1 in Region 7-AAAAAAA) in the first round. And Middlebrooks wants to be doing more than just cheering from the sidelines.
“It will mean everything for me to get back out there and play with those guys,” he said. “I’ve been playing with these seniors since ninth grade. Like I said, they’re my brothers. We have each other’s backs. I’ve got high hopes that I’ll be able to play with them again.”