Moffat County High School football player J.T. Haddan, middle, is slated to sign a national letter of intent to play football at Colorado State University at Pueblo. He is joined by his father John, left, his mother Vicki, right, MCHS athletic director Jeff Simon, back left, and MCHS football coach Kip Hafey, back right.

Photo by John Vandelinder

Moffat County High School football player J.T. Haddan, middle, is slated to sign a national letter of intent to play football at Colorado State University at Pueblo. He is joined by his father John, left, his mother Vicki, right, MCHS athletic director Jeff Simon, back left, and MCHS football coach Kip Hafey, back right.

Intent on playing some more

Football player J.T. Haddan fifth Bulldogs athlete to sign national letter of intent

— Early in the Moffat County football season, linebacker/running back J.T. Haddan was injured.

He missed the last two months of his senior football season and, because of the severity of the injury, his football career could have been finished for good.

Not quite.

On Wednesday, Haddan signed a national letter of intent to play football at Colorado State University at Pueblo, a Division II team in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference - a football team that is being rebuilt after budget cuts forced the program to be shut down in the 1984 season.

Like his new football team, Haddan is looking to make a comeback.

"When I got injured, I knew I would be back," Haddan said. "I'm really happy that I'm getting a chance to play in college."

Haddan - this year's Bulldogs football team captain - had rushed for more than 250 yards and five touchdowns in the two games before the injury.

He was diagnosed with a torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament, a torn Medial Collateral Ligament and a ripped Meniscus, or cartilage located behind the knee.

Doctors initially told Haddan it would be at least six months to return from the injury. He did it in just more than four.

"I wouldn't have been able to do it without the help I got from everyone," Haddan said. "I want to thank them all. I wouldn't be here right now if I was on my own."

J.T.'s dad, John, credits the Rehabilitation Services of Craig staff for helping his son come back to top form.

"I want to thank everybody that helped him in his rehab," John said. "They all did a great job getting him back to where he was. We really appreciate all that they've done for us and J.T."

Jeff Pleasant, athletic trainer at Rehabilitation Services of Craig, said Haddan's recovery was all in a days work.

"That's what we are in this business for," he said. "When you lose your senior year of football, you tend to think it's all over. J.T. is a positive story that now has a happy ending."

Moffat County football coach Kip Hafey said he couldn't be more proud of his captain.

"J.T. displayed the hard work and talent you need to step up to the next level," he said. "He started as a sophomore, and you just don't see that much anymore. CSU is getting one heck of a ball-player."

Haddan is the fifth Moffat County athlete to sign a national letter of intent this year, joining Angie Charchalis (basketball, Colorado School of Mines), Markie Workman (basketball, Adams State College), Caitlin Conci (swimming, University of North Dakota) and Kelsey Conci (swimming, University of Wyoming).

"We have some great athletes that have passed through this school," MCHS athletic director Jeff Simon said. "I think it's awesome for J.T. CSU Pueblo couldn't have picked a better athlete."

Haddan's mother, Vicki, said she's sat through the agonizing games watching her son hit, and be hit, in the sport he says he loves most.

As a mother of a football player, "it's hard in a mom's heart to watch your son get injured," she said. "But, I'm really proud of him for fighting through. I can't wait to watch him play again."

Haddan has many memories of his football career at Moffat County. He recalls taking a screen pass 65 yards for a score against Rawlins High School. He thinks back to when the Bulldogs were trailing at Glenwood last year and he called for a pass on fourth-and-one, catching the ball and taking it more than 30 yards into the end zone for the winning touchdown.

But, it's how others remember Haddan that sticks out most to him.

"I want people to remember the hard work and passion I put in to this game," he said. "I'm going to miss it here, but it's time for me to move on."

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