Jeff Mullally can barely stop smiling.
Each time he considers what he endured last week, it makes the experience even more satisfying. That’s because the Marine City Cardinal Mooney senior had the most unlikely turn of events in a very short time span.
On Thursday night Mullally was taken to the hospital due to the effects of pneumonia. On Friday, however, he was enjoying the game of his life for his final high school football game.
How could this be? Not even Mullally fully understands. He was just happy to get the chance to play.
“The day before our game I was in the emergency room because I woke up at 4:30 a.m. with severe stomach pains and they said it was from pneumonia,” Mullally said.
“I’m not sure how I was able to play in the game. I just knew it was my last game and I just wanted to make it special.”
That’s exactly what Mullally did. He nearly willed Cardinal Mooney to a victory by scoring five touchdowns. For his performance, Mullally is the Times Herald Athlete of the Week.
Scoring five touchdowns is big, but how Mullally scored them is even more impressive.
He rushed for 108 yards and two scores, caught a pair of touchdowns while finishing with 79 yards receiving and also threw for a 12 yard touchdown pass. He also had an interception and nearly broke free on a punt return during the final seconds of the game that would have put Cardinal Mooney in position to tie the score.
Instead, Mullally was tackled near midfield and the Cardinals lost to Madison Heights Bishop Foley Catholic, 57-49. But it wasn’t for a lack of effort.
“I couldn’t imagine not playing that game,” Mullally said. “It was a great experience for my last game. I’m not 100 percent back yet but I’m getting there. I’m still a little sick but I feel better now.
“I was coughing a lot in between plays and at halftime it hit me a little bit but I played through it. It wasn’t a big deal.”
Mullally won’t have much time to think about the big game, because in a matter of days his attention will turn to the upcoming basketball season. But he said he will never forget the game, including the final play.
“Probably the last play I will remember my whole life,” he said. “It was a punt return and I was so close to breaking away and scoring and tying up the game. That’s what the main thing I will remember.
“It was 10 seconds left and they were punting the ball. It was like a 50-yard punt and I got it on the 5-yard line. I ran around all of the blocks and I only had three people I had to get past but I got tackled on the 50-yard line. If I broke that I would have tied the game. It was a great feeling to play in that game.”
Contact Joseph Hayes at (810) 989-6268 or at [email protected] Follow him on twitter @jhayes1136.