By Ken Fillmore
CHURUBUSCO — Garrett Horn’s senior football season at Churubusco High School was lost due a broken leg in the season opener with Whitko on Aug. 18. But he did not disappear in the minds of the football coaches at Wabash College.
Horn announced his commitment to the tradition-rich NCAA Division III program out of Crawfordsville on Wednesday, which was National Signing Day.
Horn suffered the injury midway through the second quarter as he was brought down by a Whitko defender short of the goal line on a big run play.
Modern medicine, the power of healing and time appeared on Horn’s side to come back at some point. As any senior student-athlete is, Horn wanted to find a way back on the football field and play for his school. There was a thought that he could be back for a second-round sectional game if the Eagles made it that far.
A doctor told Horn that the injury was worse than expected and playing high school football again was not realistic. Based on the severity of damage, the leg needed more time to heal.
However, Horn’s football career was not over and the faith of Little Giant coaches did not waver. Horn ran for 1,695 yards and 18 touchdowns while averaging 6.4 yards per carry in his junior season of 2016 at Churubusco.
“It’s a great feeling,” Horn said Thursday night. “The road (coming back) was up and down. But after talking to Wabash coaches, they said ‘you still have a future ahead of you.’ They don’t care about the broken leg. They still see potential in me.
“Don’t take anything for granted. I want to do the best I can and anything I can to contribute to my college team and to winning.”
Horn picked Wabash over two-time reigning NAIA national champion Saint Francis. Horn said the coaching staff at Wabash is a lot like his coaches at Churubusco. They both have a similar hard-working, no-nonsense approach.
“Wabash is just a small school I fit in well at,” Horn said. “There’s a brotherhood there. Everybody knows everybody.
“Academically, it’s one of the best schools in the nation. The coaches not only want you to get better, but they also want you to grow into a well-rounded man.”
Horn could continue to play fullback at Wabash. He could also move to H-back or tight end.
The Little Giants were 8-2 last season, including 7-2 in the North Coast Athletic Conference to tie for second place in the league with Monon Bell rival DePauw. Two area players contributed to Wabash’s solid season in their senior seasons, former Churubusco Eagle Brient Hicks and Prairie Heights graduate Bobby Blum.
Hicks made 11 total tackles, including three for loss. Blum rushed for 171 yards and three touchdowns and averaged 6.1 yards per carry, caught three passes, and made 10 tackles, including seven solos. They both saw action in all 10 Wabash games in 2017.
At Churubusco, Horn has returned to action on the basketball court. His first game was the Eagles’ second game on Nov. 29 at home against Leo. He said he finally stopped running with a limp during the Eagles’ cage contest at Woodlan on Jan. 3.