One of the first players Ward got to know at Southmoore was quarterback Tre Edwards. The two became fast friends and Edwards did his best to make sure Ward still felt part of the team.
“When he first showed up we made sure we had all the kids on the same page and bring him into our Southmoore family basically,” Edwards said. “Most of all we didn’t want him to think he wasn’t apart of the team because he didn’t get to step on the field, he still helped us prepare for other teams. He handled it very well, I couldn’t imagine not playing my senior season due to dumb stuff, He’s still a kid, he should of gotten to play, but he handled it as good as I’ve ever seen anyone else do it.”
Ward continued to practice with the SaberCats for a few days, but his heart wasn’t in it. It took a while for him to get to that point to where he could be around the game.
“Those first two weeks, I didn’t do anything football,” Ward said. “I just kind of stayed away from the game completely. I still worked out. But anything football, I didn’t watch it, didn’t study it. Football was out of my mind. After a while, I kind of warmed back up to it and went to go watch my guys play and that kind of helped me get through it.”
As the months passed, Ward began to look at the situation as blessing in some ways. He said it allowed him to concentrate on his school work and graduate early. Now he can enroll at Oklahoma a semester ahead of schedule and start competing for playing time next year.
Even more important, having to sit out a full season reminded Ward of just how special the game is.