Serious knee injury is now a distant memory for this senior standout and he's been working hard to help his Sutter High team reach its objectives (especially No. 11).

Flooding is never far from the psyche of Sutter High football standout David Heckman. His house near the Sutter County town of Meridian sits just 50 feet away from a levee on the Sacramento River and in 1997 the town had to be saved from floodwaters in dramatic fashion.

"Our town is actually all enclosed by levees," Heckman said. "The levee that broke was on a bypass and was about 10 miles away. We all went to the firehouse and there was a kind of emergency town hall meeting. We got together and built an emergency berm. Some convicts even helped. And the berm held."

Letters from colleges flooding into his mail box is more on the mind of Heckman these days. That isn't happening, other than one that's been arriving every week from St. Mary's College of Moraga, but Heckman hopes a major 2003 season will at least get his name more well-known among mid-major universities.

One reason for the lack of interest may be that Heckman, a linebacker, didn't really get over a knee injury that robbed him of the entire 2001 season until midway through last year. He did look promising at the Stanford Nike Camp in May, but he hadn't yet bulked up to his current height and weight of 6-1 and nearly 220 pounds.

"It happened on the first play of the first scrimmage of my sophomore year," he related about his knee injury. "I got knocked out of bounds, I had planted my foot and I got hit again. I heard it pop about eight times."

It turned out to be a torn ACL of the left knee. Heckman was on the sidelines for nine months, but grew determined to come back and be a better player. It wasn't until the sixth game of last season, he says, in which he finally felt completely healed.

"I wasn't doing very well the first few games, but then I was switched to middle linebacker and it all finally clicked," Heckman said. "The knee just was not an issue any more."

Heckman ended the year with 93 tackles, one interception and two forced fumbles.

This summer saw Heckman hit the weight room seven days per week and some of his training runs were 10 to 15 miles in length. He hopes the improved conditioning and size from the summer will make him more attractive to colleges and says he plans to send out a highlight tape after the first three or four games. He listed his favorite colleges as being Stanford, Cal, Wyoming, Colorado and Princeton. No offers have come in from any of his favorites and it's worth noting that Heckman has a 3.75 GPA.

Sutter finished 9-2 in 2002 and with seven returning starters on both sides of the ball it could be a huge season for this year's team. One major task, though, will be for the Huskies to get past Corning, which handed them both of their defeats a year ago.

"I'm one of the captains of this year's team and I was recently asked to write up the objectives for each of our 10 games," Heckman said. "I added one for No. 11. Sorry for the language, but it says, ‘Kick Corning's Ass.'"

Well, David, it looks like the flooding analogy is going to work again. That will be the flood of message board posters from Corning fans who read this story.

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