The doctors cleared Lowell Narcisse on Thursday morning.
His mom cleared him Thursday night.
And with that one decision by the doctor and the more important second opinion of his mother, St. James, a No. 15 seed, all of a sudden became a legitimate contender in the Class 3A football race.
Narcisse, the St. James junior quarterback, made his season debut Friday night in the Wildcats’ 34-21 first-round playoff victory over Green Oaks.
The 6-foot-2 junior missed the entire regular season after tearing his ACL in the spring game. In his first game back Friday, he ran for two touchdowns and threw for another and also ran in two, two-point conversions.
“It felt good getting my feet wet and getting a feel for the game again,” Narcisse said.
Rated the top dual-threat quarterback in the nation in the class of 2017, Narcisse committed to Auburn right before the season began but was expected to miss the entire season.
“He’s been working really, really hard to get back,” St. James coach Dwain Jenkins said. “More than anything, we’re just proud of the effort he put in to get back. He did everything the doctors and trainers asked him to do. It says a lot about his work ethic and determination that he has just to give himself a chance to help his team. That’s really all he wanted to do.”
The doctors cleared him for contact Thursday, but he still had one more hurdle.
“It was up to my mom to make the final decision,” Narcisse said.
Stacy Narcisse admits it wasn’t an easy choice.
“It was more prayer than anything,” she said. “That’s where my faith came in. I couldn’t just have faith for his recovery. I had to believe God for everything.”
Narcisse entered the game on St. James’ third possession.
“The first play I held my breath, but after that play I relaxed,” his mother said.
So did her son.
“The knee felt good,” he said.
Jenkins had watched Narcisse go through noncontact drills the past few weeks.
“So we were able to see him do it, but we didn’t know how he would do with the lights on and with contact,” Jenkins said. “I don’t think you can measure what his impact is. He is one of the top quarterbacks in the country. It’s not just so much what he can do, but what everybody else believes they can do because he is on the field. The kids believe in him.”
And they should, especially after seeing the numbers Narcisse put up as a freshman and sophomore.
He passed for 5,134 yards and 58 touchdowns and rushed for 2,039 yards and 30 touchdowns in his first two seasons.
He was expected to have to wait until his senior season to add to those totals. But instead, he can add more to that total Friday when St. James plays No. 2 seed Eunice in the regional round of the.
“For a kid to go through something like that and think he has lost his whole season and sets his mind to get back, it’s just a testament to how hard of a worker he is and how determined he is,” Jenkins said. “He is a special player and he makes us a lot better team.”
The No. 15 seed Wildcats take on No. 2 seed Eunice on Friday in the regional round.
And now with Narcisse back, that No. 2 vs. No. 15 matchup becomes a whole lot more interesting.