WILLIAMSTOWN -- He was in the middle of the toughest game of the season. The unbeaten streak and another perfect season hanging in the balance. The postseason and history was around the corner, waiting.
He had been involved in thousands of collisions. He always got right back up. This time was no different, but it was.
Hank Barrett took the snap under center, faked a handoff and rolled to his left just as he was supposed to. There wasn’t supposed to be a defensive end 3 yards away closing fast. He spun back to the right only to be drilled to the ground by the opposite defensive end.
He got up, went back to the huddle and was about 20 seconds from running another pass play. He never got that far and won’t ever again in a Mount Greylock uniform. The senior captain broke his collar bone in two places when he was hit, sidelining him for the rest of the game and for the remainder of the season.
"It was just really overwhelming," Barrett said. "I didn’t really want to believe it because it’s 8-6 in the biggest game of my high school career, and you just never expect anything like that to happen."
The reason he never got to run the play was because Wahconah coach Gary Campbell Jr. called a timeout.
"I got right up. I didn’t necessarily feel too bad [before the time out]," Barrett said. "Then I felt up in my shoulder and didn’t really feel a bone there. I kind of felt a little piece
"I was very matter of fact and I thought he was joking. I was feisty, I was in the flow of the game type of thing," Flaherty said. "If Gary doesn’t take the time out, I don’t know what would have happened."
Barrett now faces the question of what now? It’s a question that hit him moments after coming out of the game. His mind started racing trying to figure out how long might he be out. Did that mean missing the Berkshire County championship? The team’s third straight Super Bowl appearance if they got there? Basketball season?
He didn’t know.
"It was all just kind of overwhelming because sitting there, you have no idea time frames for anything," he said. "You have no idea how bad it could be, what it means really for anything."
Now he knows he’ll be out about six weeks after having surgery Tuesday morning. That puts him in the middle of December, right around the start of basketball season. But as he hasn’t all season, he isn’t letting himself look ahead.
He’s intent on attending every single football practice and game, which Flaherty said is important.
"He’s still a leader and he still can contribute to the team," Flaherty said. "I remember my senior year, the only thing I didn’t want to have happen was one of those things. Š You just don’t want to have that injury that ends it for you, especially your senior year. So it’s unfortunate that it’s happened that way for Hank.
"He’s just got to change gears, change his approach but continue to be the leader that he always was for us for his four years of playing at Mount Greylock."
Said Barrett: "I’m just going to do whatever I can because it’s just going to kill me not being out there. But I’m just going to do whatever I can."
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On Twitter: @NAT_DigitalJosh