"For me, my dream was to play college ball and maybe get into a couple all-star games," said the Great Falls Central Catholic Mustang's senior runningback, Matt Mendenhall.
In his junior season, Mendenhall was well on his way to making his dream a reality... until suddenly he was living in a nightmare.
"All I remember was scoring the touchdown; you know, everyone is excited. Come back, me and Noah try to do a little celebration and you know, it just didn't end well... I remember hearing a pop happening..." said Mendenhall.
"The only thing going through my mind is if I could ever play football again," he added.
Mendenhall had torn his ACL and meniscus.
"Its terrible when it happens but I kinda have a thing that I tell a lot of my kids; you know you're gonna have bumps in the road. You're gonna have some things that don't go to well for you. The most important thing for me is what you do next. You know, what you do next is really what defines you," said Mustangs head coach, Greg Horton.
"Right after surgery, your kind of looped up but I was you know... I looked into a mirror and said here we go," said Mendenhall,"The only thing on my mind was trying to get back."
After 6 months, Mendenhall was able to start working back to his football form.... but just when it looked like he would be to the field in time for camp, a simple intercommunication turned into a major setback...Mendenhall and a friend were chopping wood at a youth summer camp when..
"I was putting the wood in the wheel barrel, the communication wasn't there. I was putting it in and he dropped it right at the last second so the axe went through my foot, cut two tendons... went in to immediate surgery," he said.
But like a true power back, Mendenhall refused to let the accident bring him down.
"The doctor saying we need surgery. You're never gonna be able to move that toe just the way you were but I took that as motivation and I'm back two weeks sooner than I thought I was gonna be," he said.
Mendenhall returned to action against Hays Lodge Pole.. finding the end-zone never felt so sweet...
"When I scored the touchdown, I said a prayer. I said thank you. I kinda went into detail with it. But just the fact that I'm able to lace the shoes back up, put the pads on and start grinding with my guys. There's nothing like it," said Mendenhall.