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Moser leaves nice-guy persona in locker room

September 05, 2008|By MARK KELLER

To talk to South Hagerstown's John Moser off the football field, one would find it difficult to picture him as an inside linebacker.

Relatively soft spoken, polite and often showing a wide smile, Moser doesn't immediately call Dick Butkus or Mike Singletary to mind.

However, put Moser on the field and he plays inside linebacker the way any football coach would expect: With intensity and ferocity.

"John's not that rah-rah, Ray Lewis-type of linebacker," South coach Greg Kellick said. "He's more a Jack Ham-type player. He sort of sits there and gets the job done and has everybody's respect in doing it."

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Moser has earned that respect honestly. The senior has been among the area's leaders in tackles each of the last two years and said he hopes to top the 100-tackle mark for a third straight time in 2008.

His more pressing goal, however, is helping to get the Rebels back on the winning track. South is coming off its fifth straight losing season and its second 1-9 campaign in three years.

"As seniors, we want to be the group that does turn it around," Moser said. "All of us care a lot about the program and we want to get it back to where it was before."

Moser said he knows that teammates -- and his coach -- are looking to him to help lead the way.

"Defensively, your linebackers always should be your leaders and he's at the point now where he's doing that," Kellick said. "And everybody on the team knows that. They're looking to him this year. They look up to John because they know where he's been and what he's done so far."

Kellick said Moser benefitted from the presence of linebacker Zeke Ricketts two years ago. Teams ran away from Ricketts and at Moser, which forced Moser to step up his game sooner than he might have otherwise needed.

This season, he'll benefit from having either Ishmael Harrington or Tyler Kalkbrenner playing next to him, since Kellick figures teams will do with Moser as they did two years ago with Ricketts -- run away.

"That's the scenario we're going to have this year. People are going to be looking for John, which is good," Kellick said. "Go ahead and load up on John. He'll take that stuff on and get frustrated to the point where he'll just start smacking heads and doing what he's supposed to do. And then he'll really go after it."

But what about the mild-mannered Moser, the soft-spoken, polite young man? Apparently, he stays in the locker room.

"Most people like to get hyped up before a game," Moser said. "I just try to calm down, put on my headphones and just get in a zone.

"The game itself is what pumps me up. I try to save it all for on the field. I just love to compete."

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