Mosley practicing through some grief this week

Published: Oct. 27, 2021 at 6:52 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) -Mosley is a high school football team working towards a rather important game Friday against Gadsden, while still grieving the loss of one of their teammates.

Mosley senior defensive lineman Avery Sanders was killed Sunday in a motorcycle accident not far from the school. Head coach Tommy Joe Whiddon gave the team Monday off, they returned to the practice field Tuesday and were back at it Wednesday. The coach allowing us to come out and speak with them about working towards a football game against Gadsden Friday that could Mosley it’s first undefeated season in nearly forty years, while also grieving. Here’s the coach first on getting back together Tuesday.

“It’s definitely and escape and I feel like we’re way more locked in than we ever have been, to kind of go finish this perfect season for him.” senior defensive lineman Michael Tate told us. “If anyone needed motivation we definitely have it now.”

“I said (to my teammates) if you never had a reason to play football, this is your reason now.” said senior linebacker Jamir Croom “Do it for Avery. Do everything for Avery. Like yeah, I think we’re really fired up, but I think we were fired up just to get this one for Avery. And it’s Senior Night, so it’s just gonna add more fuel to the fire. If they didn’t think we were ready, we’re most definitely ready now.”

Head Coach Tommy Joe Whiddon says it appears his guys are dealing with the tragedy well, working to find the right mix of being respectful and honoring Sanders, while also putting in the effort to prepare for such an important game. Remember, if Mosley beats Gadsden, it means the first undefeated regular season for this program since 1981.

“And to me we had one of our better practices of the year (Tuesday).” coach Whiddon said. “You know guys are obviously motivated now. They want to play in the honor of Avery for the rest of the season. Plus also too, the guys were just excited to just be back to their normal routine, you know.”

Croom added this about getting back to football Tuesday “We were really energized yesterday and I like the way we practiced and came out. And we did everything for Avery, through Avery. And we had some people that came out here and prayed for us. I think it was really nice for them to do that. And just like seeing the whole community is praying for us, and watching out for us. Just all their support is really helping us right now.”

Coach Whiddon says the team will further honor Sanders by wearing his number 44 on their helmets the rest of the season, how many games that might be. And his family will be part of the senior night festivities pregame Friday. That game set for 7 at the Gavlak Complex on the Arnold campus, and is one of several we’ll feature on Friday Night Overtime.

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