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Moyseenko lives dream of a lifetime

November 16, 2003|by BOB PARASILITI

"I'm going to graduate from high school and play football at Notre Dame."

"Hey, someday I'm going to come out of that tunnel and I'm going to run onto this field." - Sean Astin as Rudy Ruettiger in "Rudy"




bobp@herald-mail.com

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - It's a different time and place, but Mike Moyseenko had a "Rudy" moment.

"My parents have season tickets to Maryland games so I have been there a lot," the South Hagerstown graduate said. "I said to myself, 'I want to run out of that tunnel someday.'"

The only problem was that Moyseenko wasn't on the top of the Terrapins' recruiting list. His dream was in his hands and he was the only one who could fulfill it.

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Armed with a deep belief in himself and his ability to take advantage of a one-in-a-million shot, Moyseenko's wish came true. He has been storming the Byrd Stadium field with the Terrapins as a walk-on in the Maryland program.

"All the pieces of the puzzle just fell together," he said.

To be honest, Moyseenko out Rudy-ed Rudy.

Rudy Ruettiger, the subject of the 1993 movie, didn't hit the field until the final game in his senior year at Notre Dame. Moyseenko is dressed - even though he is a redshirt - and has been on the sidelines for the Terps this entire season.

Donning No. 4, a secondary number shared with Terps receiver Latrez Harrison, Moyseenko can be found well back from the sideline, but taking full pride in his contributions to the Maryland program.

"I'm the quarterback running the scout team against the Maryland defense," Moyseenko said. "I face one of the best defenses in the nation every day running the plays that each opponent will be running against them."

All of Moyseenko's action comes during the week. The highlight of the weekend is running out of that tunnel from Gossett Field House onto Byrd's field. After that, he just watches from one of the better vantage points in the house.

It's much better than where he might have been if he didn't put his plan - and his dream - in motion.

In the summer after graduation, Moyseenko contacted the Maryland coaching staff on the possibility of joining the Terps' football program as a walk-on.

"I came down and I tried out," he said. "They told me they'd get back to me. I was one of two or three guys to make it and I'm one of nine walk-ons."

The walk-ons and redshirts make up the scout teams - the practice opponents - the Terps face during practice. The truth is, Moyseenko knows the opponents' offense better than he knows Maryland's set just so he can give the team a realistic look at what it is facing.

"The coaches tell us to go out there and give it our best effort," Moyseenko said. "Anytime the scout guys get together, we take great pride in breaking (a long play) against the defense. Then when the defense does well in games ... Oh my gosh, yeah, it shows how important we are. It makes you feel like part of the team and the competition."

Moyseenko has background as a quarterback, starting the first five games of South's 2002 season when the Rebels made it to the Maryland Class 1A state semifinals. He wants to carry his playing days through his college years, saying he'd be listed as the sixth-string quarterback on Maryland's depth chart despite being a redshirt.

"I'm getting bigger, stronger and better," Moyseenko said. "I want to work to get some playing time and the other part is to work for a scholarship in my junior and senior year. I have as much a chance as anyone."

Until then, Moyseenko is content having the total sum of his physical activity on Saturday be that 70-yard sprint from the locker room to the sidelines where he stands and watches the Maryland team that he helped prepare to play.

"I guess I could have gone to a smaller school and played," he said. "This is a dream or a goal ... I can't explain it. There's a lot of doubt, but I'm OK with it. I know I'm a part of it."

And just like the real Rudy, Mike Moyseenko has been waiting for this his entire life.

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