Replacing standout athletes is never an easy task.

Teams spend all spring and summer finding the combinations that will allow them to build on past success.

Graham is no different.

During the off-season, the Steers had to replace all-district and all-state linebackers, an all-state wide receiver and an all-state nose guard.

Just as everything was falling into place for the 2014 season, the Steers hit a major speed bump.

Senior safety Mikey Freeze will miss the upcoming season with a dislocated shoulder. The District 5-3A Defensive MVP and third team all-state honoree suffered the injury during a drill at two-a-day practices.

Freeze and his mother, Jamie Land, visited doctors in Wichita Falls and Fort Worth who said Freeze needed surgery, requiring him to bypass the football season. 

Freeze underwent surgery on Thursday and will go through five months of rehab.

His decision to have surgery leaves a big hole in Graham’s roster. The Steers don’t have as much depth as in past seasons, so they will rely on different athletes to play multiple positions this season.

Freeze was among them.

The two-year starter played safety, returned kicks, punched in a few extra points and played receiver last season, roles he probably would’ve assumed again in 2014.

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Trying to predict what the Steers could’ve done with Freeze, who had 92 tackles and five interceptions in 2013, is nearly impossible. His presence at safety alone probably would’ve kept quarterbacks from throwing to his side of the field. 

But Freeze is gone. And not just from the team, but from Graham.

Read the full story in this weekend's Graham Leader.