Moultrie Observer

Local Sports

December 4, 2013

Mobley healthier, confident for state semifinal

MOULTRIE —  Daniel Mobley had just come off a stretch of three starts last season against Tift County, Brunswick and Valdosta during which he completed 40-of-56 passes for 649 yards and eight touchdowns when the pain in his throwing shoulder finally led the Packers to shut him down the next three games.

He played some in the season-ending loss against Norcross in the state semifinals, completing 6-of-10 passes for 82 yards and a touchdown, but about 10 days later had the shoulder surgically repaired.

Mobley has not missed a start in this, his senior season, although the shoulder has ached and he had suffered through several other assorted injuries, including a sprained ankle suffered in the state quarterfinal victory over Dacula in which he passed for 255 yards.

After getting to the field house on Wednesday following a session at the Vereen Rehabilitation Center, Mobley proclaimed himself to get the start on Friday in the Packers second-straight state semifinal game at Blue Devil Stadium at Norcross.

He didn’t act as if the ankle would be a consideration and said that just two weeks shy of the one-year anniversary of his shoulder surgery, he said, “It’s getting better. I’m starting to feel like my old self.”

And that old self was one that had the Packer Nation look forward to the 2013 season when the Colquitt County offense would be under his direction full time.

As a sophomore in 2011, getting some playing time behind starter Cole Segraves, Mobley completed 31-of-49 passes for 345 yards and three touchdowns and did not throw an interception.

He started last season as the backup again. But when Segraves struggled, Mobley got his first start against Tift County and completed 15-of-19 passes for 213 yards and four touchdowns.

At Brunswick the following Friday night, he hit on 16-of-20 passes for a career-high 286 yards and three more scores.

He threw a couple of early interceptions the following week at Valdosta, but led a fourth-quarter rally that fell just short in the 38-36 loss to the Wildcats.

But he didn’t step on the field in the first three playoff games before getting one last opportunity in the 41-27 season-ending loss to the Blue Devils.

Still, he finished with 1,015 yards and 10 touchdowns.

“When I first saw him play as a seventh-grader, I knew he had a chance to be something special,” said Packers coach Rush Propst.

And despite the sore shoulder and other ailments associated with being hit week in and week out, Mobley has fashioned an outstanding season and career.

 He has thrown for 2,391 yards this season, which ranks second on the Packers single-season yardage list.

His 3,751 career passing yards ranks No. 4 and he is tied with Clif Henry for third on the career touchdown pass list with 29 scoring throws.

Propst said an injury like the one Mobley suffered would have been career-ending 30 years ago.

“I hated it when his shoulder gave way and he had the labrum tear,” Prospt said. “And it’s remarkable that he’s been able to come back in 11-plus months.”

And his ability to rehab and battle back through the pain allowed the Packers to have a smart and experienced quarterback to lead them to the state semifinals for the fifth straight season.

“He knows this offense and knows what we’ve got to do,” Propst said. “He can throw. He can run. He can manage the game.”

And he can put disappointing performances behind him.

In back-to-back games against Valdosta and Coffee, he completed just 20-of-45 passes for 188 yards and one touchdown. In the four games since then, he has completed 69-of-103 passes for 918 yards and five touchdowns.

The 255 yards he threw for in last Friday’s 42-17 state semifinal victory over Dacula were the second-most in his career.

And while he threw three interceptions against the Falcons, Propst is unconcerned.

“Those picks will have no effect on him on Friday,” he said. “He’ll rebound and might even play better.”

Mobley says he has had his ups and downs this season, but believes “everything is clicking now.”

Not only is he getting closer to being where he needs to be as far as his health is concerned, he and the rest of the offense appear to be peaking.

The offense seems to have matured as the season has gone on and the emergence of Kiel Pollard, Tim Sanders and Ty Lee as offensive producers have complemented the work of Mobley, Sihiem King, Todd Boyd and others.

As far as meeting 11-2 Norcross, a team that Propst says has superior talent, Mobley says, “We just have to execute our stuff and we’ll be fine.

“We can’t be worried about how talented they are or how big they are.

And he gave a shout-out to his offensive line, which includes center Cade Blackburn, guards Gabe Mobley and Clay Hawkins and tackles Brandon Cope and Alfred Brown.

“We’ve had some sacks, but some of that was on me,” he said. “Those guys have done a great job all year, really.”

Many of the Packers have played against Norcross three times now, in scrimmages last year and this year and in the semifinal loss last December.

Mobley has had some success against the Blue Devils, including two touchdown passes in this August’s scrimmage and the one last December.

“That gives me some confidence,” he said.

Despite the pain and the losses at Hoover and Camden, Mobley said, “This has been a great year, really.  The losses were tough, but they’ve helped us. They brought us back to reality.

“I wouldn’t change it for anything.”

And Propst is pleased his senior quarterback has been able to lead this team.

“I really enjoy coaching him,” Propst said. “He’s his own man. He’s a gamer.

“And he’ll be successful in whatever he does in life.”

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