TUCSON, Ariz — It was a game that was already decided. Late in the fourth quarter of a playoff loss, Tariq Jordan and Marana were down big to Cienega.
"I made the catch and implanted right into the ground and went to make a cut," said Jordan. "Right as my leg hit the ground, the defender's body came and swept my leg underneath."
"Everything just went quiet," said Cecil Jordan, Tariq's grandfather.
"And my leg just kind of gave out and snapped in all different places," added Tariq Jordan.
"I got to him on the field. The first thing he said was, 'It's over Poppy. It's over.'"
Tariq suffered a full dislocation of his knee, a broken leg, a ruptured popliteal artery, and tore his ACL, MCL, and PCL.
"I thought my career was over," said Tariq. "So, it wasn't really pain in my leg. It was pain in my body. It was pain in my heart because of how much I love this game."
Doctors were more concerned with saving his leg. A nine hour surgery did just that, and Tariq spent two weeks in the hospital. The Marana community showed an outpouring of support.
"It felt so lifting," said Tariq. "The whole experience made me feel better because of that. I was never down. I had a smile on my face every time someone saw me because I was thankful."
Six months later, Tariq is well underway on a long road to recovery as he works on his balance and strengthens his leg.
"Getting into physical therapy, as I get that hunger, it just kind of drives me to never be in that position again."
Tariq never gave up on the idea of once again playing competitive football. And, neither did Western New Mexico University. Just last month, the Mustangs offered him a football scholarship.
"It makes me feel like I'm blessed. I'm thankful, and very appreciative of the people who helped me get to where I'm at."
Tariq's timetable is to have ACL surgery in June, and then recover, rehab, and redshirt his freshman year, and then be playing in 2020.
"The moment I'm back on the field, its just a race to the top again so I'll be unchained, unleased, like a beast. A new man."