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Horsley made plays to help East Oktibbeha


Adam Minichino





Doing more was just fine with Monté Horsley. 


On offense, Horsley convinced East Oktibbeha County High School football coach Randy Brooks he could do the job at fullback.  


To play that role, Horsley even worked as a coach with his replacements on the offensive line to make sure the Titans wouldn''t suffer up front. 


Horsley didn''t get any time off on defense. 


Whether it was playing anywhere up front or at middle linebacker, Horsley did his best to help pick up the slack for injured teammate Arthur Gillespie. 


"I just knew my team was counting on me to make big plays," Horsley said. "I just tried my best to make those plays and to make my team a better team." 


For his accomplishments, Horsley is The Dispatch Small Schools All-Area Football Team''s Defensive Player of the Year. 


Horsley had 93 tackles (61 solo), 13 sacks, and 18 tackles for loss to lead the Titans. He played end, guard, and tackle up front and middle linebacker on defense.  


He also served as the battering ram quarterback Chris Hunter turned to at fullback. 


Horsley said it was a good season, but that he would have hoped for better, especially after East Oktibbeha (4-7) fell short of making the playoffs. 


Still, Brooks said Horsley and Hunter stepped up at the beginning of the season and emerged as leaders.  


He said they set the tone in practice and at games to keep their teammates motivated. He said both players were "70 to 80 percent" responsible for making sure guys were where they were supposed to be. 


"When Gillespie went down with an injury (and missed six games) Monté stepped to the forefront and told the guys they had to pick it up on defense," Brooks said. 


Brooks, who worked as offensive and defensive coordinators, said Horsley pestered him about being able to play fullback. When Brooks moved the offense to the Wishbone, Horsley convinced Brooks he was fast enough and strong enough to run with the ball. 


"It seemed to work pretty well for us," Brooks said. 


But the majority of attention Horsley attracted came on defense, where he usually saw double-teams. Brooks said Horsley worked out in the weight room prior to the season to prepare himself. 


"I told him as a defensive tackle everybody was going to know who you are and that teams were going to run right at you and double-team you, so you have to be stronger," Brooks said. "He responded to that." 


Horsley called his senior season "good." He said the team could have had a better season if more Titans would have "put in more work, more effort, and more teamwork." Individually, he felt he could have done a little bit more. He said he didn''t see the double-teams as a point of praise but something that motivated him to work even harder. 


"I expected it," Horsley said. "I just had to fight through using different techniques (like the swim move, where he whipped his arms up from his sides to knock away the arms of a blocker) and staying low." 


Horsley also said he was better focused this year to handle the added responsibility of being a target on defense. He hopes to grow into that kind of player at the next level. So far, he said he has attracted interest from Grambling State, Concordia (Ala.), and East Mississippi Community College. He said his goal is to play at Mississippi State. 


Coming from a small school, Horsley knows he probably won''t be the most hyped player from the state of Mississippi moving to the next level. 


But Horsley hopes his efforts this season in multiple roles will help give him an edge when it comes time to earn spots on college teams. 


"It was a little difficult playing all of the different positions, but I know I had to do it for my team," Horsley said. "I dealt with it and made things happen."


Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.


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