Mosley battles through rough career of injuries

Published 10:37 am Wednesday, October 11, 2006

NEDERLAND – Micah Mosley has to be slightly weary of these wait-and-see health trials, complete with X-rays, MRIs, and endless painful moments.

  As Mid-County Madness returns for Micah’s final fling in this most special of high school rivalries, it seems fitting that Nederland’s senior tailback ventures through the week on yet one more day-to-day health situation.

  Package this in perspective and it amounts to a terribly disgusting and unfair commentary that it has to be that way. Micah’s broken leg as a freshman, broken jaw as a junior, and deep ankle bruise as a senior disguise the heart and the determination of this 6-1, 200-pound leader of the Bulldogs.

  All you can be sure of is this – James and Phyllis Mosley have raised one top-caliber young man whose competitive spirits have ranked with Nederland’s finest in any era.

  That still does not escape the obvious… when it comes to injuries, life is not always fair. When it comes to breaks of any kind, life is not always fair. And any realist from either Mid-County outpost knows by now that if Micah is able to compete this Friday night he’ll definitely have to settle for way below his tip-top best.

  Even Micah realizes that much already…. yet that’s the great competitor in him. He’s still going to give this night all he’s able to donate to Nederland’s cause. He will take every step to ready his lower left leg for the occasion. Then he will accept whatever consequences that unfold.

  “Yesterday (Monday) I got to run during our team practice,” he said. “Today I did the same thing. I’m definitely thinking that I’m making progress. Is it as fast as I want it? No. But I definitely think I’m coming along.”

  That’s the same competitor in Micah that put on his uniform last Friday around 6:20 prior to Nederland ’s homecoming game against Beaumont Central. Then Micah takes the field and goes through his stretches and paces in the 6:30 and 6:45 moments. It’s obvious to the trained eye that Mosley’s strides are very choppy – that his ankle is very gimpy after the outside of the lower leg took a vicious blow from a helmet near the sideline early in the third quarter of the Bulldogs’ 28-24 loss at Vidor.

  When Central’s pre-game warm-ups concluded, the competitor in Micah would not be denied.

  “After warm-ups, I felt I was going to be decent to go until I actually started playing,” Mosley admitted.

  The game changed so much because it revealed Mosley’s inability to plant, cut, and really apply a heavy strain on his lower leg to start and stop. Micah had every ounce of necessary determination and pain tolerance. Six offensive plays into Nederland’s night, however, Bulldogs head coach Larry Neumann had watched enough.

Neumann wisely pulled Mosley from the remainder of the game. It wasn’t as if Larry had any other choice. He had to take out Micah.

  “I don’t have any reservations about that decision,” Neumann said on Tuesday. “Sometimes coaches have to make those decisions behind the will of a great athlete.”

  The tragic part of this saga was Mosley’s 2006 development as a runner prior to the Vidor injury. After his remarkable 32-carry, 318-yard, four-touchdown performance at Waller, Micah had left no doubt about his credentials as a superior high school runner – arguably Nederland’s best since Troy Sumrall.

  The 2006 Mosley version – prior to the Central game – ran with so much more authority than in previous years. The 2006 Mosley version attacked defenses with a sturdy lean about his frame.

  “I think that comes from having confidence in my line and my fullback,” he said. “You just know it’s all going to work out. Experience makes such a difference. This will be my fourth year to play.”

  Mosley’s ability to play has been extraordinary during this season’s first four games. He has been a virtuoso if Nederland ever has been blessed to have one. He punts, returns kicks, he catches passes, he runs and he runs and runs… He leads District 22-4A in rushing and scoring and it’s not by accident.

  “Boy, what an incredible all-around talent that Mosley is,” Waller coach Jim Phillips said in admiration after getting a first-hand opportunity to watch him.

  If anyone has come to know and appreciate Micah, his head coach definitely has.

  “He has all the things you would expect from a senior leader,” Neumann said. “He’s a slasher-type runner, an excellent blocker, he could play quarterback. He’s dealt with adversity throughout his career. And he’s had the natural reactions that anybody would.

“He gets disgusted… He doesn’t get depressed from it, he gets determined by it. His confidence level has grown to the point where he has become much more assertive.”

  Going into Game 6 of his senior campaign, Mosley has rushed for 2,994 yards and 35 touchdowns on 430 carries. Nederland ’s faithful just hope there’s more heroics still ahead for him, especially Friday night at PN-G.

  “My quickness last week just wasn’t really there,” he explained. “Any player that really wants to play is going to be discouraged after that kind of a situation. I mean, you’re not a true football player if you want to sit on the sidelines (as against Central) and watch the game…. You can take it (your health) for granted…. I just keep thinking I’m going to wake up tomorrow and feel like that again.”

BULLDOG BITES

  Neumann indicated that Mosley received an MRI late Tuesday for the purpose of “ruling out” any leg damage that may have been missed or overlooked from earlier examinations. The possibilities are numerous in the event that Mosley is unable to play against PN-G, but the decision likely will not be finalized in advance. Neumann felt Mosley’s mobility contained encouraging signs early in the week, compared to last Friday against Central… Senior Darren Washington and regular fullback, junior Chris Gutierrez, are the primary options that Neumann will consider as starters at tailback, along with Mosley…. Senior Kent Maxwell is expected to return to the starting lineup at strongside linebacker along with soph Jordan Landry at bandit backer. Junior Mike Benfield is expected to draw more playing time at defensive tackle but he is not listed as a starter for now…. The Bulldogs did not sustain any new significant injuries from the Beaumont Central game…

MICAH MOSLEY’S CAREER RUSHING STATS

Year (Class)       Att.       Yards    TDs

2004 (Soph)      208       1,349    17

2005 (Junior)     127       731       7

2006 (Senior)      97       914     11

Total           430        2,994    35