The injury, which the Stephenville Empire-Tribune described as a "fracture to his third metacarpal in his throwing hand," required surgery on Oct. 27. Stidham was expected to be out at least another week if not the rest of the season, but tell that to Estacado, who Stidham torched for 341 yards, six touchdowns through the air and another 181 yards and three scores on the ground in a 69-60 Class 4A Division I Region I area (second) round victory.
"Yeah I didn't really want many people knowing. I wanted it to be a surprise," said Stidham on Monday. "And it was on Tuesday that we decided that I would be available but we were never sure if I was for sure gonna play. We were gonna try and get through the game without me playing but after that first drive they needed me in so I went in."
Apparently, even the Texas Tech coaching staff didn't know as offensive coordinator Eric Morris said Monday he had to step outside of a movie Friday night because his phone was blowing up due to Stidham's performance.
"It's pretty funny I probably talked to him on the phone three or four times last week, we talk three or four times a week, but he never mentioned to me one time there was a chance he was going to play," Morris said. "I got a text message from a friend of mine at Stephenville that said "he's warming up right now". So I was in the movie with the team and it kind of freaked me out a little bit so I walked out was checking my Twitter and sure enough everything starts blowing up."
Morris added that Stidham "went gangster" on the Tech coaches by not telling them, because he knew they would try and talk him out of playing.
"He's a kid that wanted to play for Stephenville where it means a lot to him to play for all of his friends, he's a competitor," Morris said. "He went in after the first series, if I'm correct, and lit it up four weeks after having surgery, which is really impressive. What's even more impressive to us is it just shows what kind of competitor he is and the type of kid who loves football and wants to be out there. This is what you want to build your team around."
Stidham said his hand is "all good," after playing and will play this week in Stephenville's regional semifinal matchup with Big Spring 2 p.m. Friday at Shotwell Stadium in Abilene. The game is a rematch of their Oct. 24 contest where Stidham injured his hand and Big Spring won 64-57.
After Stephenville's playoff run ends, Stidham will play in the Under Armour All-American game with fellow Texas Tech commit Breiden Fehoko on Jan. 2 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, FL. Then he is expected to enroll at Texas Tech later that month, participate in spring ball and compete for the starting job.