Latest News

Mobley signs with Jamestown

SUN-STAR PHOTO BY BEA AHBECK
Atwater High senior and football team linebacker Johnny Mobley signs to play with Jamestown College at the Atwater, Calif. school Tuesday evening, June 2, 2009.
SUN-STAR PHOTO BY BEA AHBECK Atwater High senior and football team linebacker Johnny Mobley signs to play with Jamestown College at the Atwater, Calif. school Tuesday evening, June 2, 2009. Merced Sun-Star

ATWATER -- Johnny Mobley has spent countless hours in the Atwater High weight room over the years.

The senior linebacker is a workout warrior. Mobley probably hears the clanging of the weights when he drifts off to sleep each night.

"I've probably spent half my life in this weight room," Mobley said.

So when Mobley was asked where he wanted to sign his national letter of intent to accept a football and track scholarship to Jamestown College in North Dakota, the choice was simple.

A small group of family, friends and coaches gathered in the Atwater weightroom on Tuesday as Mobley signed his name on the dotted line.

"He wanted to do it in the weight room," Atwater coach Bob Valladao said. "It seemed like a fitting place to do it. Johnny is a worker.

"We had to try to get him to pull back. He would work out with us and then go work out at In Shape."

Signing the letter of intent was a special moment, one that wasn't supposed to happen for Mobley.

Doctors tried to persuade Mobley not to play sports, especially not one as violent as football.

It wasn't because of the surgeries Mobley has undergone on each knee, but because of a congenital heart defect. A valve in Mobley's heart didn't work properly.

"The valve in my heart didn't shut, so it was like my heart backwashed my blood," Mobley said.

Mobley took medication to help treat the problem until he underwent heart surgery on May 23, 2008.

"He had one too many spark plugs," his mother, Jennifer said. "He was overfiring.

"That's why he said he always gave 110 percent. He never knew if that would be his last game."

Valladao hopes Mobley's story will inspire some of his other players.

"Johnny left the field in an ambulance during his sophomore year because he was so exhausted," Valladao said.

"He's had to overcome a lot. Since he's had his procedure, he's been good ever since."

Mobley joins an NAIA program that went 7-3 last year.

"I'm excited," Mobley said. "I've had two knee surgeries, I've had heart surgery. ... To be able to go through that and still pull this off means a lot."

  Comments