VILONIA, Ark. (KTHV) - It took only one play to silence the crowd at a football game in Wynne last Friday as Vilonia running back Houston Cotton hit the ground with a serious leg injury.

Head coach Jim Stanley said Cotton brought leadership and passion to the football program. Both the head coach and Houston's father told THV 11 the senior running back has taken great strides toward recovery.

Cotton severely dislocated his left knee while being tackled and the injury damaged an artery in his leg. Houston's dad, Sonny, said doctors had a matter of hours to get the teen into surgery before he would have lost his leg.

"He was air-lifted from the Wynne hospital to the med center in Memphis. That's all they have repaired so far in a month or so when he heals up from the surgery of his artery. Then he's going to have to get his whole knee reconstructed," said Sonny Cotton.

CoachStanley said the athlete alwaysplayed wellon the field.

"Great ball player, fast, state champion hurdler...leading rusher. Before he got injured Friday he had 129 yards in the first half," said Stanley.

Since the injury the community of Vilonia flooded the family with calls of encouragement and the school made shirts supporting the senior.

"The whole football team came up last Sunday to visit him and it's just been great. More than you can imagine," said Cotton.

Houston's dad told THV his son will have surgery again on Saturday.

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