Wednesday was a good day for Damon Warren as he had stitches removed from his surgically repaired left leg.
“The doctor said I was healing up great,” said Warren, a senior at Sumner Memorial High School of East Sullivan who resides in Franklin.
Most days haven’t been quite as good for Warren since Nov. 1 when he suffered a broken leg while leading the school’s top-ranked boys soccer team into its Class C North semifinal against George Stevens Academy of Blue Hill.
The game was in its early stages at Husson University in Bangor when Sumner sophomore Caelen Billings sent a pass forward through the GSA defense to Warren, already the third-leading goal scorer in Maine schoolboy soccer history with 113 goals.
Warren and the GSA goalie both sprinted toward the ball, and while Warren was able to shoot the ball under the goalie and into the net with his right foot, the ensuing contact between the players resulted in breaks of both the tibia and fibula of his lower left leg.
“That’s what I do all the time,” the 5-foot-10, 150-pound Warren said of his charge toward the goal. “I was doing that and the goalie was trying to stop me from scoring, and we pretty much got there at the same time. I should have jumped over him, I usually do.
“I knew exactly what had happened right then and that it was broken.”
Adding insult to the literal injury, Warren’s shot into the goal didn’t count because he was ruled offside on the play.
“They said I was behind the defense when [Billings] kicked it, but we have video footage that showed I wasn’t offside,” he said.
Warren was taken to a Bangor hospital and had surgery the next afternoon to repair his injured leg, including the installation of an approximately 13-inch-long rod.
The ensuing three weeks have represented the start of what is expected to be a three-month recovery period.
“This is my first major injury,” said Warren, who these days relies on a wheelchair to get around school and uses crutches at home. “It sucks, it really does.”
Warren scored 24 goals during his first two seasons at Sumner, then erupted for a state-record 52 goals last year when Sumner went 13-1 and reached the Class C North semifinals before falling to Fort Kent, the eventual state champion.
Warren followed that with 37 goals this fall to lead his team to a 13-0-1 regular-season record and a 3-1 quarterfinal victory over Houlton before his injury curtailed Sumner’s bid for its first regional championship.
Fourth-ranked George Stevens Academy went on to defeat the Tigers 7-0 after Warren was injured but lost to No. 3 Mt. View of Thorndike in the Class C North championship game.
Warren finished his high school soccer career trailing only Drew Hayward of Woodland (128 goals) and Ian Lee of Madawaska (127) among Maine career boys’ goal scorers.
He began his senior year needing 24 goals to become only the seventh boy in state high school soccer history to surpass 100 career goals, a milestone he reached during an Oct. 7 victory at Jonesport-Beals.
“I got what I wanted. I’m not too mad about that,” Warren said. “If I had broken my leg at the beginning of the year it would have been tougher, but since it was my last game it wasn’t so bad.”
Warren is scheduled for an X-ray next month, and while he doesn’t play a winter sport at Sumner, he expects to be ready to resume competition for the Tigers in the spring.
“I’ll be able to play baseball,” Warren said. “This is not going to stop me from playing like I usually play.”