Getting back on the football field wasn’t a given for Wellington Dukes varsity quarterback Ben Higgins after suffering two broken arms and a shoulder injury in 2017.
Then a freshman, Higgins broke both arms simultaneously during an outfield collision on the baseball diamond. Hard work to recover in time for football season was quickly discouraged by a torn labrum in week two.
He managed to return under center at the end of a difficult campaign and looked forward to this season for a fresh start.
“I feel like people look up to me and that’s how it should be,” Higgins said. “It comes with being the quarterback. After a win like we had last week, you come out of it with a lot of momentum. But after a big loss, the anger of it kind of fuels you to be better. You carry it over into the next week as kind of a way of avenging yourself.”
“This year was questionable whether I would play football or not,” he said. “Baseball has always been my number one sport and the sport I want to play after high school. So the thought of getting hurt and hurting my shoulder again was kind of tough. I decided to look toward the team unselfishly and play. My shoulder isn’t what it used to be but it’s definitely a lot better that it was. I’m happy to be playing football and to be out here with my teammates.”
A shortstop on the diamond for the Dukes, Higgins said he would like to play baseball and pursue a degree in criminal justice at Kent State or Ashland University.
“My dad is a fireman and my mom is a nurse, so the public service thing has always run in my family,” he said. “Both Kent State and Ashland have pretty good baseball programs and they’re both close to home. I don’t want to go anywhere far away unless it’s a really good offer.”
Outside of school, Higgins enjoys hunting, fishing, and racing at Lorain County Speedway in Amherst Township.
“The outdoors have always been a big part of my life,” he said. “I grew up doing all of that stuff with my dad. My grandpa has a race car and we go out to the speedway a lot for that. We go to Norwalk sometimes too for the drag racing. Hunting can teach you a lot that carries over into sports, like safety. Patience is also a big one. With hunting, sometimes you see stuff, sometimes you don’t see anything. In football or baseball, results can also be very unpredictable.”
The signal caller said cheers from Dukes football fans have meant a lot to players and coaches as they try to bring the program back to prominence.
“I can’t thank them enough,” Higgins said. “They show all the support in the world for such a small community. They rally around a team that everyone knows doesn’t have that many people. It’s crazy the amount of support these people give to us and I can’t say enough about them.”
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.