LAWTON, Okla (KSWO) - The talk on the east side entering 2015 was the emergence of a new quarterback at MacArthur. After opening eyes in spring and fall camp, Anthony Love was not only ready to step in to the starting role, but was primed to make a name for himself statewide.
But Love's dream junior season ended before it ever really got started, when he went down in Week 2 against Lawton High. The result was a torn ACL, an injury that kept him on the sidelines for the final ten games of the season.
"I was going crazy. I kind of knew that I tore it though because it made two popping noises. That kind of signified it," Love said. "I was just like, man it's over."
"It really hurt him and you know it would anybody who cares a lot about it. We're fortunate that we have a lot of kids that really care about what we're doing here and they've really bought in 100 percent and Anthony is one of those," MacArthur head coach Brett Manning said. "When something like that happens, it's pretty devastating to a young kid."
Love eventually got over the initial disappointment, and became an important part of the team again. He even did what he could to help back-up QB J.R. Winningham find success in his place.
"Coach Manning came to me one day and he asked if I wanted to signal to the receivers and the quarterbacks. So I would just do the hand signals to them and then I would just come over as a leader to JR and help him out whenever he needed help," Love said. "It made me become a lot closer with the team. After I got hurt, I felt a little alone. Once I got back on the sideline, I felt a lot better."
"You know he kept a great attitude. He helped J.R. out the entire season. He even started signaling some plays for us later in the year. He really handled it the right way and showed a lot of maturity," said Manning. "That's tough to help a guy who's playing the position that you feel like you should have been playing. But he handled it the right way and helped J.R. out a lot last year."
Off the field, Love was busy rehabbing his knee. He spent an hour before school and an hour after school three days a week, working to get healthy again. He was 100 percent in time for spring practice, but it took some time to get regain his confidence.
"I'd say the first day I was kind of scared. But after I took a couple of hits, I went ahead and just said, well I'm not going to get hurt again so I just did what I had to do," said Love.
"He had a good spring ball and had a good camp up at Mustang. I think he's going to be set to come back and pick up right where he left off," said Manning. "Obviously it would have been better for him to have a junior season. He's worked really hard and has kind of earned his way back and is doing great right now."
Love admits his appreciation for the game has grown over the last year. Among his goals for his senior season, leading MacArthur to its second State Championship. The Highlanders will begin that quest September 2nd against Eisenhower.