Parshall-White Shield running back Dexter Two Crow's senior season nearly came to an abrupt end in a 9-man opening kickoff against Beach High School on Aug. 21.
While cutting back to the left side of the field, Two Crow said "this little tiny guy" made contact to his knee, shifting all of the Parshall star's weight to his right leg. The hit hyperextended the joint.
As he lay on the field, Two Crow feared the worst. He thought he had torn his ACL, thus ending his career in a Parshall uniform, as well as any future of playing football collegiately. The grim thoughts brought tears to his eyes.
Senior running back Dexter Two Crow has rushed for nine touchdowns in two games since returning from a knee injury.
But the 5-foot-11, 170 pounder's season was not over. It was simply hampered for a couple weeks. He returned in the fourth quarter of the same game, but only played at linebacker. Two Crow again sat out on offense in the team's second game, but played the entire game on defense. He will play his third straight game at running back against Shiloh Christian at 7 p.m. on Friday.
The Braves missed Two Crow's presence at running back, as they scored just six points in a 22-point loss to Beach. They didn't fare much better the following week, losing by 28 to Mott-Regent.
But when Two Crow returned to the position on Aug. 31 against Bowman County, he immediately gave the Braves a much-needed spark.
Two Crow ran for four touchdowns and scored the team's first 30 points in a 46-8 thrashing of the Bulldogs for the Braves (2-2 overall, 2-2 region) first win of the season.
"He plays hard," Parshall coach Mark Grueneich said. "You know you're going to get a good effort out of him. He's not going to short change you."
Two Crow credits his father, Jason, for his passion toward football. Dexter and his father watch football every chance they can. They've attended area high school and college football games for years.
"Him just being around the game and hanging out with me and going to games has really helped with his development over the past four years," Jason Two Crow said. "The entire family thinks about football. We were kind of raised on football."
Jason Two Crow played running back for Parshall and played collegiately at Minot State University. He is currently an assistant coach for the junior varsity.
Two Crow followed up the four-touchdown performance with a five-touchdown game in a 64-34 victory against Hettinger-Scranton. He had touchdown runs of seven, 18, 22, 37 and 45 yards. The Braves average 55 points per game with Two Crow at running back and 13 points when he is out of the lineup.
"We all have to play together as a team," Two Crow said. "It's all about blocking. My team is really what has gotten me to this point."
Said Grueneich: "It fires up the offense when you can get big plays and he's capable at any time of making a big play."
Two Crow's success this season is nothing new for the Braves. As a freshman in 2009, he helped Parshall to its first Region 4 title since 1999. He served as the second string running back and filled roles at tight end, fullback and safety. The Braves finished 9-3 that season and lost to Hankinson in the 9-man championship.
"It was really scary because I was only a freshman," Two Crow said, "but it was a good experience. I was just happy we were able to go. It was a good freshman experience."
Two Crow and the Braves lost their next 10 games, which included a winless 2010 season. He said that year helped him become a better player.
"I was able to learn more," Two Crow said. "I learned more of my plays. That was my building year. I came in my junior year and I was set. Freshman year, I was always doubting myself with plays."
Parshall ended the losing streak with a 44-18 win over Bowman County in September 2011 and Two Crow played a major role. He rushed for three touchdowns and 93 yards and caught a 78-yard touchdown.
Two Crow contributed in every way last season. He finished with 18 total touchdowns-12 rushing, two receiving, two interception returns and two kickoff returns.
As for the rest of this season, Two Crow set one important goal.
"I'll be disappointed if we don't make playoffs," Two Crow said. "We just need to keep our heads up and you can't take anyone for granted. You have to go in thinking you're going to win the game but you also have to play 110 percent."
Parshall is in a three-way tie for fifth place in the region, one game behind Central McLean and Beach for the third and fourth playoff spots.
Two Crow has expressed interest in playing college football, but he and his father are taking a wait-and-see approach. Jason Two Crow said that they will listen to any offers presented. The father also said that he wouldn't be surprised if Dexter is converted to a full-time linebacker by interested schools. Dexter has not received any college offers yet.