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Playing from heart has duel meaning for Hodges family

Joey Kirk/Editor

Issue date: 10/13/05 Section: Sports
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Walking out of the visiting locker room of Memorial Stadium last Saturday, Cody Hodges had an entourage waiting for him, but he focused only on two people.


His father, Steve, was standing outside along with Cody Hodges' mother, Sharon. The fifth-year senior quarterback went straight up to his father, hugged his neck and whispered in his ear.


"Then he told me, 'Doesn't this remind you of 1999?'" Steve Hodges said. "I said 'Yes sir. It was a repeat of it'."


During Cody Hodges' senior year of high school, at the helm of Hereford's offense, the now-Texas Tech captain led the Whitefaces into a state playoff game against Weatherford in Sweetwater. The events played out just as they had in Lincoln, Neb., last weekend.


"Cody threw an interception," Steve Hodges said. "He was trying to throw it to (his brother) Slade. Well, Slade chased down the guy, punching and punching the ball. He knocked it loose and recovered it."


With the case of d�j� vu against the Cornhuskers, Cody Hodges threw an interception before it was fumbled, and sophomore receiver Danny Amendola recovered it. The Red Raiders ended up marching down the field once again to win the game.


"They went on to kick a field goal on the last play of the game to win it," Steve Hodges said flashing back to the 1999 game.


During the final plays of the game, Steve Hodges said people around him in the Tech section wondered what would happen.


"A guy behind me, who I'd never met before, asked me, 'Can we score?'" Steve Hodges said. "He didn't know who I was, but I just said, 'Sure we can.' I told him I've seen the quarterback do it before. Then he looked and asked me, 'Are you his dad?' I proudly said yes."


When Cody Hodges found junior receiver Joel Filani in the end zone for the 10-yard touchdown pass, Steve Hodges said a smile came across his face as though he had predicted it.


"He gave me a pat on the shoulder and said, 'By golly, we did,'" he said. "That's cool."


Steve and Sharon Hodges made the trip to Lincoln, which almost didn't happen.


He wasn't going to miss the game, no matter what happened to him.


"I've made every game since they came to Tech," Steve Hodges said. "We've been whether they were playing or not. We came even during their redshirt years."


The Monday prior to Tech's fifth game of the season, Cody, senior receiver and brother Slade and their sister, Heather, all made a trip of their own to see their father. The visit wasn't the most pleasant one, having to see Steve Hodges in an Amarillo hospital.


Their father had been experiencing chest pains earlier in the week, and a doctor's visit showed Steve Hodges had the main artery in his heart 100 percent blocked.


"He just had kind of a scare," Cody Hodges said.


While in the hospital, Steve Hodges underwent an operation. The doctors used a heart catheter to help unblock the artery, and then a stent was put in to keep it from happening in the future. Steve Hodges said having his three children come and see him was a blessing, especially concerning the circumstances.


"Monday's their day off (from football), so they got to the hospital late Monday afternoon," he said. "By the time they got there, they already had me in a room. We all sat down, and we had a real good visit."


With Tech's first away game looming in the minds of the Hodges family, Steve Hodges gave his sons a pep talk despite laying on a bed in a tiny recovery room.


"I just told him and Slade to go out there and inspire the team," Steve Hodges said. "I told them to win it and to go for it."


This past Monday, Cody Hodges said he remembered his father telling him to make sure another trip to the hospital was not needed after playing Nebraska. He said Steve Hodges did not want the game to come down to the end.


"He asked me if we could try and avoid situations like that, just for his health," Cody Hodges said.


Evidently, Cody Hodges did not take his father's advice, but no other health complications arose out of the situation.


"He's great," Cody Hodges said. "He's doing real good."


And for the side of football, Steve Hodges said his son's contributions to Tech's record are about the same.


"Cody is the ultimate team player. He cares less about stats. He's got the attitude of let's just win," Steve Hodges said. "He not concerned with leading the nation in passing as some of his predecessors were. He just wants to win."


Winning is something Cody Hodges has become accustomed to, leading the Raiders to a 5-0 start, the best since 1998. Steve Hodges said he noticed his oldest son's ability to lead a team earlier in his years, but it really showed up in high school.


"The game I remember the most was against Frenship in 1999," he said. "On the last drive, he got in the huddle, and he said, 'I'm driving the bus. Whoever wants to go with me, get on board.' He's just a total commander out on the field."


His numbers this year prove that. Cody Hodges has boosted Tech to the nation's No. 1 spot for passing yards per game with 433 and also the No. 1 position for points scored per contest, averaging 53. Now, the Raiders sit at No. 11 in several polls, but no matter what happens, Steve Hodges said his son somehow never gets nervous - something that has led him throughout life.


"He's done a good job," he said. "I wish, for myself as a father, that I had his composure, calmness that he has."


In Cody Hodges' situation against the 'Huskers, most people would have some sort of anxiety, especially with the game on the line. But he said it didn't affect him one bit.


"It's crazy. I wasn't really nervous," he said. "As an athlete, you want to be in a situation like that. If you're not competitive, obviously you want to shy away from those."


Cody Hodges is no stranger to pressure, and his resume proves it. But with his father's heart problems earlier in the week and Nebraska possibly being the Raiders' first loss, he somehow fought through it to win the game - win it for his father.


"I knew if he was there - he was at the game - we just wanted to win for him," Cody Hodges said.





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Viewing Comments 1 - 1 of 1


posted 10/25/07 @ 4:52 PM CST

I think Cody is a good person and he is VERY CUTE!!!!

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