Hardcore for team

Published 12:05 am Friday, October 26, 2012

Straughn's Nick Stepp and Opp's Russell Moseley will try and help lead their teams to victory tonight.

Stepp: A hard worker for Straughn

Hanging on the wall in Straughn’s field house is a plaque for the Keith Shiver Pound for Pound Award.

Last season was the inaugural year the Tigers coaching staff and team picked a player for the honor.

SHS junior linebacker Nick Stepp was picked as the recipient for the award in the 2011-12 season, and by the looks of it, he’s in line to win it again this year.

Stepp, who is 6-foot-3 and 155 pounds, lines up at the outside, or dog, linebacker spot so he can get leverage on players who make a break for the end zone.

Stepp’s skinny frame is deceiving because as of last week, he’s averaging 7.3 tackles per game. He has 51 this season as of last week.

“I just try to play hard and give it my best on every play,” Stepp said when what defines you as a football player. “My teammates do a good job of getting them near me and just boxing it in.

“I’m basically playing with heart and going as hard as I can go every play,” he said.

Stepp, along with his teammates, will need a lot of heart tonight as the Tigers visit Opp in a crucial region contest.

When asked what he thinks it means to be a Straughn Tiger, Stepp said first and foremost, “it’s a great thing.”

“It’s a privilege to be a Straughn Tiger,” he said. “With us having this nice facility we have and working around great coaches, there are just great people who are here at Straughn.

“All of my teammates come together,” he said. “We’re like a family. It’s another day like at the house.”

Stepp’s hard work ethic on the field, especially, originated from his defensive coach, John Fussell.

“Coach Fussell is my biggest main prospect,” he said. “He’s all about working hard and getting things done right. If you’re going to do something, do it 100 percent and don’t hold back on anything.”

And that’s what Stepp’s been doing for almost two seasons, just like why the Shiver award was given to the junior defender.

At the top of the plaque reads, “Giving 110 percent… 100 percent of the time!”

Nick is the son of Jason and Linda Douglas of the Straughn Community.

Moseley loves bein’ an Opp Bobcat

Russell Moseley doesn’t mind being an Opp Bobcat.

In fact, the senior outside linebacker considers it an “honor,” and he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“It’s an honor to be a Bobcat,” Moseley said.

The Bobcats have a big contest tonight against Straughn in the final regular season region game at Channel-Lee Stadium.

Moseley said it’s crucial OHS wins tonight.

“We’ve got to win to get in the playoffs,” he said. “We don’t want to depend on if (T.R.) Miller beats W.S. Neal or not, and it’s Straughn on top of that. How much bigger does it get?”

It’s a pretty big game for the seniors, he said.

“This is the seniors’ last year,” Moseley said. “We won’t ever get to play them again.”

When asked what this rivalry means to him, Moseley said he has a lot of friends on Straughn’s football team because he’s played travel ball with them.

“We ain’t friends when we get on that field, though,” he said.

The “mind set” for the Bobcats for every game is the same no matter the opponent, Moseley said.

“It doesn’t matter if we’re playing Alabama, we’ve got the mind set of we’re about to beat them,” he said.

The 6-foot, 205-pound senior said the team must play fundamentally-sound football tonight against the Tigers.

“Straughn’s a very sound football team,” he said. “They’re not as physical as Neal was last week, but they’re very sound in that kind of thing. We’ve got to do the same thing to beat them.”

Out on the gridiron, Moseley is going to be right at home, playing the game he loves so much.

“I love football, always have,” he said. “I’ve played it ever since I was little. There’s just something about it. There ain’t no other sport like it.”

He plays baseball, too, but “football’s where it’s at.”

Russell is the son of Pam and Johnny Moseley of Opp.