SPRINGDALE (KFSM)--On Friday November 30, all high school football games in Arkansas were postponed due to bad weather. With Shiloh Christian getting an extra night to prepare for Arkadelphia, senior Jaret Russ and his friends went out for dinner at Tacos 4 Life.
"On the way there, I kind of felt my stomach felt kind of weird and I was like, oh that’s weird, I’m sure I’ll be fine," Russ recalled. "And then I went and ate and on the way home I just had awful stomach pains. Later, my stomach was hurting so bad it woke me up. I got sick in the bathroom."
"Our biggest concern at that point, is he gonna be up all night and dehydrated," said Joe Russ, Jaret's father.
"My stomach felt better but I stood up and could tell something felt kind of weird," Russ said. "I was like that ain't right."
Russ slept that night and woke up for team breakfast at the high school on Saturday.
"He [still] had slight pain in his core and in his side," head coach Jeff Conaway said.
"I started jogging around a little bit and I was like, man my side is hurting. I was like, I really hope that’s not my appendix," said Russ.
After eating, Russ and his family went over to teammate Braden Tutt's house to see his father. When Dr. Tutt had a feeling it was appendicitis he called for confirmation.
"Need to do a CT scan and rule this out just to be certain," Joe added. "Cause you don’t want to be out there if it is appendicitis."
"Sent me down to the hospital and got a CAT scan," said Jaret.
"They thought it was ready to be removed," added Conaway."
"And that was really about it, I had to have surgery after that," finished Russ.
Russ had his appendix removed at the same time that the Saints kicked off with defending state champion Arkadelphia in the 4A semifinals, a game Shiloh lost 30-17.
"You ask any football coach, do you want to go play a semifinal or championship game without your best running back and nobody’s gonna sign up for that," said Conaway.
"We went up to the hospital after the game and there was lots of football players. A lot of his teammates were there and his family was there and so we were able to hug him and tell him we loved him and glad that he was out of surgery and everything went well. Got to reminisce a little, sit around and talk and just enjoy his presence."
The Russ family has had about a week to digest the unforeseen ending to the season.
"If I were to have played on Friday night [if the game wasn't postponed] and I got hit in the wrong spot and it ruptured, than I could have, it could have been fatal," Russ said.
"Saturday really turned into a surreal day. That’s the perspective that gives me comfort, you know. Kind of helps with the disappointment," Joe added.
Russ put up big numbers over his three seasons as a starter at Shiloh Christian. 256 carries for 1,751 yards and 34 TD with 6.8 yards per carry. That along with 90 catches for 1,440 yards and 17 TD with 16 yards per catch cemented Russ as one of the most productive players to wear a Saints uniform.