Last week was a time for emotional healing for Wesleyan's football team after the top-ranked Wolves had their quest for back-to-back Class A state championships ended with a 20-15 loss to ninth-ranked Wilcox County in the quarterfinals.
It was also a week to begin the physical healing process for several individual players, most notably, starting quarterback Conor Welton, who had surgery to repair the torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee that he suffered in Wesleyan's second-round win over No. 10 Bowdon.
The 6-foot, 190-pound senior -- who finished the season completing 101 of 144 passes for 1,572 yards and 26 TDs, with just five interceptions -- actually played on the injured knee through the first half against Wilcox County, but could not continue after halftime.
"There were two kids we lost to injury this year that we felt we'd have a tough time without," Pridgen said. "One was (senior receiver/linebacker) Anderson Porter, who we lost (to a collarbone injury) in the Commerce game (Oct. 16). Then, there's Conor. When you lose guys like that, it makes it tough."
Welton's surgery may also have repercussions for Wesleyan's baseball team.
A first-team all-county selection by the Daily Post after hitting .404 with eight home runs, 27 RBIs and 21 stolen bases as a junior, the rightfielder was expected to be one of the cornerstones for the Wolves' drive for a third straight state championship after winning the Class AA title in 2008 and the Class A title last spring.
Welton, who has signed to play baseball at Georgia, wasn't sure what his status would be for his senior season, but has not ruled out being able to contribute at some point.
"It all depends on when I can get back after rehab," Welton said. "We'll see how therapy goes. ... I'm going to work hard to get back, though don't know if it will be the high school season, next summer or next fall."