Nine touches through two games. That's how Quentin Hemmah's sophomore season began for the Tri-State Tigers following a violation of training rules policy.
31 carries for 224 yards in the next contest, 37 totes for 231 in another, and the backfield vision began to shine. Quentin amassed 1,120 all purpose yards over six games, carrying a prideful load for a 1-7 team.
Quentin averaged 111 yards per game despite his team being outscored 318-68. He scored eight of the team's 12 touchdowns.
"When he came back after serving his suspension, he provided a much needed spark for our offense, allowing us to finish a difficult season on a positive note," Tri- State coach Steven Schiltz said.
That was before "Q" missed his entire junior season with off the field issues. Losing the sanctuary of football.
Misdemeanor mistakes sent Quentin on his way out of school in Campbell to a detention center in Duluth, 237 miles away. He was faced with a choice; Trust the process and grow, or become a spectator to the game of football.
Hemmah quietly completed his requirements with a firm focus on academics and an equal eye on returning to play.
Hemmah's older brothers played junior-high football at Breckenridge, but neither logged a varsity snap. His cousin, Seth Moore, played four years of tailback for Tri-State.
One year removed from the gridiron things became clear. Quentin wanted to come home and be a Cowboy.
He moved back to his Breckenridge home this past summer to begin his senior year at Breckenridge High School. Anxious to play football, feeling the freedom just blocks away from the tower lights of Cowboy field.
Hemmah narrowly avoided transfer restrictions and, despite his shaky circumstances, was allowed a sacred second chance at football. The decision came just days before Breck's first game.
"I've always wanted to play Cowboy football and I'm glad I get to play my senior year for Breck," Hemmah said. "The hardest part was being away from home, missing my family and friends a lot. It's great to be out there playing with these guys."
One of those friends, Darian Clark, is a senior Defensive End for Breckenridge. Clark had high praise for Hemmah's leadership as a first-year player. One who switched from nine-man to 11-man football.
"He came in unexpected," Clark said. "We didn't get to see him at Campbell, but everybody knew he had talent, it was just where we could apply it. He's never negative, always lifting guys up, always one more rep, one more play. His leadership helps a lot as one of the older guys on the team."
Hemmah has lead blocked for a number of Tommy Hiedeman's gashing runs. His senior counterpart has over 600 yards through four games, while Hemmah has churned out 175 yards on 23 touches (7.6 ypc).
"He's not only a great athlete but an unselfish one too," Cowboy coach Chad Fredericksen said. "He has done a great job carrying the ball but more impressive, to me, is his down field blocking that has allowed others to spring plays for big gains. He works hard, does what is asked of him and never complains."
Back in the saddle again
Breckenridge was bottled up by West Central Area in a 14-6 opening loss. Quentin entered the backfield in week two at Pelican Rapids. His first carry went for 12 yards through the trenches. His biggest rush came when he carried the entire Viking pile to the five-yard line late in the fourth quarter.
Week three Welcomed Roseau to town. Early in the first quarter, Tommy Hiedeman tossed a reverse sweep to Hemmah, who casually coasted to a 38-yd touchdown run. He also broke off a 25-yd score to start the fourth, finishing the day with 72 yards on 3 touches.
Three games remain for Quentin and the Cowboys, as his final ride will soon be finished. One thing is for certain, "Q" is enjoying the present and leaving the past, in the past.