The Jonesboro coaching staff is looking for Kali James to help solidify the team's defensive front. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)
JONESBORO — It is often said that it isn’t the size of the dog in the fight, but rather the size of the fight in the dog. And Jonesboro juniors Montrailius Moseley and Kali James knows this all to well.
Underestimated because of their small stature, they are determined to prove that each belongs in the conversation of the best football players in the Southern Crescent.
“Montrailius and Kali are high character guys, and we expect them to take a big step this year,” offensive coordinator Nate Wardlaw said. “They have just as much talent as any guy out there, but because of their size, they’re overlooked.”
Standing at 5 feet 7 inches and weighing 170 pounds, it’s easy to overlook the Cardinals’ starting running back and defensive back; however, Mosley points out that this actually gives him an advantage.
“On the offensive side, because of my size, defenders have a hard time locating me and getting to my level,” he said. “On defense I’m just able to get to the ball faster and play more of a free floating style.”
This attitude paid huge dividends for Moseley in 2013, especially on defense, as he racked up 63 tackles and two interceptions during his sophomore campaign. In the trenches of the defense, Kali James faces the same doubt that Mosley does.
At about 5 feet 9 inches and 275 pounds, James came into the Jonesboro football program an underdog. However, he was able to secure a starting position on the defensive line as a freshman and has held that spot for two seasons. Much like Mosley, his small stature gives opposing teams a hard time.
“I may not be the same size as these guys who are 6-foot-4 or 6-foot-5, but when we’re in our stance we’re the same size,” James said. “I use my height for leverage, and I use my frame as speed to get past my defenders.”
Both players will be counted on heavily on both sides of the ball this upcoming season. They have been coming early to practice and staying late after working out and doing drills to be able to stay in shape for late-game situations. As Jonesboro has won 24 games in the past three seasons, there is reason to believe that they can make a deep run into the playoffs this year, despite a tough schedule that includes games against 2013 playoff team Eagle’s Landing and Class AAAA champion Griffin.
“We know where we want to be, and we have set those expectations for ourselves,” Wardlaw said. “We’re working to get to that elite level of teams, the level from the season that starts at the end of the regular season and playing until late November.”
If the Cardinals are ever short of motivation, they can just look to Moseley and James where they realize that they are all in this together.
“We’re one team, one family,” Moseley said. “If I’m an underdog then we’re all underdogs. We’re all working toward the same goal, and if we all do our part, then all of our expectations will be met.”