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Prep preview '13 -- TMP players healed up and ready to go for 2013

By AUSTIN COLBERT

acolbert@dailynews.net

Cameron Fouts was one of the lucky ones last season for Thomas More Prep-Marian. After hyper-extending his knee against Phillipsburg on Oct. 5, he found out that no internal damage was done and was back in time for the next week's game against Russell.

By the time TMP reached its season finale against Hoisington, seven starters were riding the bench with injury. Fouts knows he could easily have been the eighth.

"It's frustrating but the season can't just go to a halt until everyone gets better," Fouts said. "You just have to trust that your backups are taking mental reps when they are sitting out and can trust they have your back."

Fouts, now a junior, will play tight end and linebacker this season after spending most of his first two seasons on the offensive and defensive lines. TMP coach John Montgomery tried to move Fouts off the line last year, but with mounting injuries had no choice but to keep him where he was.

Fouts played every position on the offensive line at one point last season.

Among the injured on the line was then-junior tackle Adam Schibi, whose season ended in the second quarter of the Russell game. A big hit on his elbow led to Tommy John surgery and months of rehab.

"It was a big, freak accident. It happened very quickly. I knew right away something wasn't right," Schibi said. "I had surgery a week later and battled through that a little bit. Had to have another surgery to clean up some scar tissue. So I've had quite a medically-filled year."

It was the perfect storm of injuries that guided TMP to its 2-7 record a season ago, the first under Montgomery. But it's also given the players a hunger heading into this season that otherwise might not have been there.

"It's definitely one of those things were I didn't want the injury to set me back at all," Schibi said. "Even after the surgery I told coach that I wanted all my maxes and everything to be higher than they were at the end of last summer."

Junior quarterback Max Megaffin can understand the feeling of wanting to come back stronger after breaking his collarbone in the week leading up to the La Crosse game last year, putting an end to his season.

"It was rough at first because I got made fun of a lot for it," Megaffin said. "I dove for a pass to get it. Not like I got tackled or anything."

As humorous as it might have been for some, it cost Megaffin a chance to start in place of Shane Zimmerman, who two days later tweaked his ankle, making him miss the game against La Crosse.

And it also made life outside of football very difficult.

"It's a struggle because when you sleep you can't roll over or anything," Megaffin said. "I had pillows lining me on both sides so I didn't move. Then I had another pillow prop up my collarbone so it didn't form wrong. Then I had to wear a back brace during the day to keep my back straight, because if I hunched over it would form crooked."

Heading into the first game of the 2013 season, all the injuries seem to be in the past. Megaffin is healed and was in a battle for the starting quarterback job, Schibi is back to form and ready to lead the offensive and defensive lines, and Fouts can finally get back to his move from lineman to tight end.

Not that he's opposed to throwing a block or two if needed.

"Before all the injuries happened, I was switching in and out at tight end with Anthony Walters, our starting tight end," Fouts said. "If we are having trouble with our protection (this season), I will stay in. But if I have the opportunity I will take it to catch a few balls."