Thanks to Rick Pruett from www.actiondigitalphotography.com for the photo.
Here is a heart-wrenching Mother’s Day tale. Ann Morgan is a proud mom from Lockwood Valley whose son won Most Valuable Player (MVP) at the April 30 U.S. Army Arena Bowl IX at Rabobank Center in Bakersfield. But the event also honored another young man, and was a gift to another mother….
By Ann Morgan
The Army All-Star Arena Football game is a showcase for the outstanding football athletes from Kern County’s high schools. We didn’t know until the night of the game—Friday, April 30—that no one from Frazier Mountain High School was on the All-Star’s original roster.
Two teams are dubbed “East” and “West” for the special Bakersfield event. West’s coach, Rich Cornford (from Frontier High School), had two quarterbacks with talents in other positions as well, so he went looking for a quarterback who could throw. He saw Mike Morgan’s statistics and called Frazier Mountain High School Coach Jarudd Prosser.
Prosser told him Mike could do the job. Mike said he would drive to Bakersfield every night to practice, but he wanted one thing: Mike’s jersey number is 19. He wanted to wear number 6 to honor his friend Nick Bettis who passed away in January, a tragedy that shook the entire school. Nick was both a close friend and the second string quarterback who was seen as likely to take Mike’s place for the FMHS Falcons next year.
Almost all the players on Mike’s All-Star West team were from the big schools in Bakersfield, so until Mike had proven himself, they questioned what this “mountain man” could do for them.
We were excited when we found out he was starting, and after his 6-yard “quarterback sneak” rushing touchdown, we thought we were going home happy. By the time the game was over, Mike had 7 touchdowns— 3 rushing and 4 passing.
The whole Bettis family came to the All-Stars game to see Mike play in Nick’s memory.
There were some tremendous athletes in this game, most of them will play football at Division I universities, so when they announced Mike was MVP—most valuable player of the game—well you can just imagine how we all felt.
This is not only a great accomplishment for Mike, but for FMHS, our football team, and the memory of Nick Bettis.
Many of Mike’s teammates were on the field with him after the game. Nick Bettis’ whole family was there. They were thrilled and his mother gave Mike a big hug in his number 6 jersey as they all celebrated on the field. The FMHS teammates did their Falcon chant. It was great.
These Falcon accomplishments are a result of Coach Jarudd Prosser’s commitment and hard work. It is sad we will be losing him to Taft High School next year.
This is part of the May 07, 2010 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
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