Jace Hightower is ready to be unleashed.
The Claremore senior running back, who is committed to Air Force, returned to the field last week against Sapulpa after dislocating his left elbow during a half-game scrimmage against Wagoner on Aug. 29.
Hightower was fairly limited for precautionary reasons, but he rushed for 67 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries against the Chieftains in a 49-24 loss, and he also caught a 33-yard touchdown.
The Progress spoke with Hightower earlier this week.
Q: When did you first know something was wrong after you were tackled?
A: I went to put my hand down to try to stay up, and it just popped in. That’s when the elbow dislocated. I looked down at it, and I could tell what happened. I could hear a pop.
Q: How bad did it hurt on a scale of 0-10?
A: Probably about a 7. It was pretty painful right then.
Q: What was going through your mind in that moment? Were you worried about missing the season?
A: I wasn’t too worried about missing the season because it’s my bad arm, and I figured I’d be able to put a brace on it and be able to play.
Q: Have you had any other injuries in your past that helped you prepare for a situation like this?
A: I’ve torn my ACL before. I’ve had a few little things here and there, but I’ve been able to get back pretty quick. This is one of the bigger ones I’ve dealt with besides the ACL, but it’s been a few years since then because I was in fifth grade.
Q: How does the ACL compare to the elbow injury?
A: The ACL hurt a little more, I’d say. The pain threshold has changed, and now I’m big and tough.
Q: How difficult was it sitting out the first game against Bartlesville?
A: It was hard. It was difficult. Especially when Bartlesville started to come back a little bit. I just wanted to get out there and play. I wanted to be a part of that, but we got the win, so oh well.
Q: How frustrating was it for the Sapulpa game to go the way it did in your first night back?
A: It’s tough, and we obviously wanted to win with it being our home opener with the new turf. We were disappointed, but I know we’re a good team. We made some mistakes, and we really let Eli (Williams) run all over us, but that was really the only part we did bad on. We have some things to improve on, but we’re still a good team. We still have the whole season, and this is nondistrict, so we can move on from it.
Q: What’s the difference between you and Edison running back Sevion Morrison?
A: He’s a little faster than me, I’d say. I’d say I’m stronger than him and more durable than him. Vision, we both have that. I’m probably a better blocker than him.