By Dariush Shafa
Perry County News
TELL CITY – The Tell City Marksmen football team got some professional (in every sense of the word) football advice from one of the sport’s true experts during a visit on Thursday, Sept. 10.
Mike Prior, the youth football commissioner for the Indianapolis Colts, took a few minutes to share some advice with the players during a visit to Tell City. Prior came to town to visit with the team and to recognize Head Coach Mac Webb as the Indianapolis Colts and NFL High School Coach of the Week. As part of the recognition, Webb was presented with a $2,000 check for the football team. The Colts will also pay the cost of 2,000 meals to any food pantry of Webb’s choosing.
The Marksmen are riding high, having denied all scoring attempts against them. For the first time since 1992, the Marksmen are 3-0. The Marksmen made it all the way to semi-state in 1992, falling to the Westfield Shamrocks by a score of 7-0 and ending their season 12-1.
Prior’s understanding of football was hard-won, having played at Illinois State University. Prior was also a talented baseball player. In 1985, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected Prior in the seventh round of the NFL draft. That same year, in the fourth round of the Major League Baseball Draft, the Los Angeles Dodgers drafted Prior.
Prior’s career wasn’t a certain one early on, he told the players. He was cut from his teams twice in two years, first by the Buccaneers and then by the Colts.
“It doesn’t look like it’s going to be the profession for me,” Prior told the players of how it looked at that point.
But in 1987, Prior got a break. The National Football League Players Association called a strike and Prior was one of the strike team players for the Green Bay Packers. The strike lasted 24 days and Prior was one of five players who was kept on the team after the strike ended. He ended up playing in two Super Bowls and was a member of the Packers’ 1996 championship-winning team.
“There’s going to be bumps in the road, no matter what level you’re at. How you react, though, worry about the things you can control,” Prior told the players. “Believe in yourself. Believe in your teammates. You’re off to a good start.”
Webb said he was grateful for the recognition, but said the credit doesn’t belong to him alone.
“It’s my name on the press release, but we’ve got nine guys on staff and all of them work just as hard as each other, and that’s really what’s making this go,” Webb said.
Webb said earning this recognition took him by surprise.
“2020 is crazy, I guess,” Webb said. “Some guys will coach for 30 years and never win it. I’ve done it in three weeks. It’s just been a special year so far.”
And Webb said he was grateful that the players got to hear from Prior.
“It’s nice for them to be recognized, it’s nice for our staff to be recognized. It’s a special opportunity to hear a veteran like Mike Prior who played in the NFL for so long.”