It took 15 stitches to lace up Cody Jenkins’ bloody right index finger.
But, for a moment, the third-year Capital High School senior quarterback thought he could still throw a football.
“My thought, I guess, was get it stitched up, put a glove on, tape it up, and I’d be fine,” Jenkins said. “But, it definitely didn’t end up like that. It was way too loose to throw with.”
Less than a week before Capital’s home opener against area rival Tumwater on Sept. 4, Jenkins was at a friend’s house playing a video game.
He spotted a moth hovering around the light fixture on the ceiling.
He swatted at it, hit the light, and peered down at his cut-up finger.
“I got really queasy, so I didn’t really look at it that much,” Jenkins said. “But it kind of hit me later when I settled down and was like, ‘This is actually pretty bad.’ ”
Jenkins missed the first week completely. The Cougars lost to Tumwater, 42-9.
Two days before the annual Spaghetti Bowl game against Olympia, Jenkins stood on Capital’s practice field unraveling gauze into a heap on the grass.
The finger wouldn’t be ready for Friday, but he’d take reps at cornerback and free safety.
The Cougars lost again, 41-7, and Jenkins’ replacement, junior Carson Bertelli, exited in the first quarter with a broken arm.
Freshman Grant Erickson (36 of 80 passing, 515 yards, nine TDs) filled in the starting role well enough, though, Capital coach J.D. Johnson encouraged Jenkins to still play a part.
“It was just like, ‘Jey, still contribute, talk to the quarterback that’s in there, help out, coach him up’ – those types of things,” Johnson said. “Try to stay positive, and when you’re ready to go then you’ll be ready to go.”
Jenkins wore a small cast around the finger and was told by his doctor to keep it elevated to avoid swelling.
He didn’t take a snap at quarterback until Week 7 at Mount Tahoma.
“It was eye-opening,” Jenkins said. “It was the first time I’d ever been sidelined by an injury. It was just frustrating not getting to be out there with my brothers. It was really frustrating.”
By that point, the Cougars were sitting at 1-5 — the lone victory coming against a winless Foss team.
“We got in the hole,” Bertelli said. “Then it was a win-or-go-home situation for every single game on the way out.”
Jenkins still has some numbness in the finger, but tossed for two touchdowns in his season debut at Mount Tahoma.
Capital’s 37-18 rout spearheaded a three-game winning streak to end the regular season.
Against North Thurston the following week, Jenkins tied Capital’s single-game passing touchdowns record with five as the Cougars cruised to a 49-7 win.
He is 23 of 41 passing for 433 yards and nine touchdowns in three games.
“I think he’s definitely a factor,” Johnson said. “This is his team, and he was told when he was ready to make that move, or attempt to make that move, we were going to let him feel it out, because he’s the one that’s got to throw the ball.”
With last week’s 31-0 shutout of Shelton, the Cougars (4-5) locked up the fourth and final seed out of the Class 3A Narrows League. They play at Columbia River (5-4) on Friday night for a state-playoff berth.
“We hit the reset button, and everything starts all over,” Johnson said. “And that’s where we’re at now.”
Lauren Smith: 360-754-5478