CENTRE - High school wasn't always easy for Cherokee County's Quartez Henderson, but through it all and with some community encouragement, he stuck with it.
Now Henderson is seeing the results of his hard work.
The former Warrior all-purpose football threat signed a scholarship with NAIA Lindsey Wilson College from Columbia, Ky., on Monday evening. Last season as a receiver for the Warriors (10-3), Henderson hauled in 53 catches for 763 yards and 11 touchdowns. From his defensive back spot, Henderson had 53 tackles and five interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown. He also finished the season with 1,148 total yards, including 249 on kick returns and 78 on punt returns.
"I just stayed focused," Henderson said. "I've endured a lot of hardships, but I kept my mind focused on school and it's all paid off in the long run. I'm blessed to be able to sign with Lindsey Wilson."
Henderson's high school coach, Tripp Curry, said Henderson "has made me a better coach."
"We've had some hard times, and we've had some good times, but after 27 years, I've learned that you have to coach everybody differently," Curry said. "I'm extremely proud that Quartez didn't quit. He's had several opportunities to do that. He's been positive and he's stayed at it. I'm proud of Quartez for seeing what he's got to do and getting it done. We've got some really good teachers here who have really helped him out, but there comes a time where you've got to help yourself. Quartez really stepped up to the plate and did that."
Henderson said he used his broken wrist toward the end of his senior basketball season as "a learning tool." That's when he said he became even more serious in the classroom, and he also took the initiative to send out film to colleges in hopes they would give him a chance to continue his athletic career.
"I got invited (to Lindsey Wilson) for a visit," Henderson said. "They thought highly of me. I told them I'd sign with them and they offered.
"It's a nice school. I like it up there. The coaches are really good. I like the atmosphere. It's not city-like. It's a Centre-type city. That's pretty good coming from a small town and going to a medium-sized town. I just feel like it's a fit for me."
Henderson said he's thankful for the opportunity, and he's thankful to everyone within the Cherokee County High School community who helped him earn it.
"The Graves family, the Lockridge family, the Edwards family, there's a lot of really good families in Cherokee County," he said. "They just motivated me, supported me, and had faith in me that I could do good things, and I appreciate that. I'm going to continue to try and do great things."
"I think once he gets up there, once he gets settled in, it's going to be a good fit," Curry said. "We've had a lot of kids from Cherokee County go to the next level, and we're so proud of them, but what I really like to hear are their accomplishments. It doesn't have to be on the football field. I like to hear 'I made a B on my test' or 'I made an A in science.' It's awesome when you get to hear what these kids who played here are doing and how they're furthering their life."