When you're built for speed, it's not always easy to decelerate.

Pomona star running back Max Borghi is widely considered the top back in the state. As a junior last season, Borghi injured his knee against Columbine in the 5A state quarterfinals. It ultimately ended his season on the field, while the Panthers returned to the title game.

"It was heartbreaking," Borghi said, "especially working hard all season just to get back to that game and not even be able to play. It's put a lot of fire in my chest and I'm just ready to get back next season and do it."

Borghi operates on a higher gear than his competitors, so the star runner had to acclimate to a slower lifestyle during his recovery, which will ultimately end in the fall.

"There's no rush, but I think [returning in] the first couple games is definitely possible," Borghi said.

The 5-foot-10 senior has put his body through a series of injuries, but this knee injury was like no other. The recovery has been much slower and more specific.

"It started with just super small little movements" he said, "then getting to band-work and now I'm slowly getting into squats and lunges and running and working on my form a lot."

Since the injury, Borghi has made big changes, stacking on a great deal of upper body strength -- 20 pounds in fact -- as well as sealing his college football future.

The senior committed to the University of Colorado Boulder in February this year, then flipped committing to another PAC-12 team, Washington State University, just last month.

"I'm very excited," Borghi said, "It's going to be a big journey, the next part of my life, the next part of my football stage. I'm really excited to get up there in January, it'll be something different, it'll be an adventure."

That's all Borghi told 9NEWS about his recent commitment because his focus doesn't accelerate past this coming season.

"Our goal and my goal is to get that state championship," he said. "We've been so close too many times and it's been something I've wanted since my freshman year and I'm finally going to get it."

He may not play in the first high school football game for the Pomona Panthers, but he's hoping to play in the last game for the title at Mile High Stadium.

"It's just taught me if I work hard enough I can come back the same athlete as I was before, if not better."