Picayune’s Kellar bounces back from bad break

Published 6:59 pm Thursday, November 2, 2006

This time last year, Picayune’s Steven Kellar wasn’t thinking about about running onto the field and enjoying his senior season with the Maroon Tide.

He was just thinking about running again. Anywhere. Period.

Last November, Kellar was injured in an off the field accident that left him with a broken right leg, a crushed right heel and nerve damage in his leg as well.

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Friday night, he starts his 10th straight game at defensive tackle for third ranked and unbeaten Picayune, as the Maroon Tide hosts West Jones in the first round of the Class 4A state playoffs.

“It’s really amazing when you think about it,” veteran Picayune head coach Dodd Lee said, of Kellar. “In June, when we started summer work outs, we as coaches didn’t think he had any chance to play football again.”

And just getting to that point of summer work outs was a victory of sorts in itself for Kellar, the 17-year-old son of Greg and Jennifer Kellar.

Kellar was injured when an all terrain vehicle he was driving over-turned on a hunting trip.

Afterwards, he was confined to a hospital bed for two months and forced to make up his school work at home.

“It was tough. There were times when I figured I wouldn’t play again,” Kellar said. “The doctors said they weren’t sure what would happen, and that I should just worry about walking normally again. But it was my last year, and I wanted to play, so I just started working.”

Working consisted of several months of physical therapy and rehabilitation, while still maintaining his academics so he wouldn’t fall behind in school.

“I knew all the hard work would be worth it if I got a chance to play again,” Kellar added.

As the school year ended and the Maroon Tide players began making preparations for the summer program, Kellar knew he had to prove himself again.

“I was a linebacker before the accident,” the 5-11, 190-pounder said. “I knew that because of the injuries, I wouldn’t be as fast as I was before. So I was a little worried about that. “

But during the summer work outs Kellar began to show that he might, indeed, be able to help the Maroon Tide this season.

“We had 20 work outs and he didn’t miss a one,” Lee said. “He just showed incredible dedication and determination, he worked his tail off. And as pre-season practice got closer, we thought he might be able to help us up front.”

It turned out, that while the injuries may have made him a step slower as a linebacker, he was still pretty quick for a defensive lineman.

And Kellar has not only helped out, he has contributed heavily to a Picayune team that has yet to trail in a game this season. He is is one of the team leaders in total tackles and tackles for losses.

“He has made some big, big plays for us,” Lee added. “With what he has acoomplished he has become a leader for us. I mean I knew the kid had some determination in him, but I’m not sure anybody thought he could do what he has done.”

“It was just about getting adjusted to a new position,” Kellar said, of the move. “But after everything over the past nine months I had to adjust to it wasn’t a problem at all.”

Kellar is still fighting some lingering effects from the accident. He is battling fluid on his knee and his right foot is still not totally recovered and he has limited use of it.

But, just like during the summer drills, he has pressed on.

“To be able to be a part of this team after what happened is really something,” Kellar added. “We thought we could have a special season, and so far it has been.”

A special season made even more so by a very special kind of player.