LOWELL — A week after leaving Father Eckert Stadium in an ambulance, Lowell wide receiver and cornerback Shawn Mooney suited up to play in front of his home crowd on senior night.
Before the game, Mooney walked to midfield at The Inferno – the Red Devils' home venue – arm in arm with his parents. And when his name was announced over the public address system, the fans cheered loudly for their senior who would once again play the game he loves.
Mooney’s father, Harry Mooney, is an assistant coach at Wheeler. And despite the Wildcats facing Calumet on the road, he said he wouldn’t miss his son’s senior night for anything. Harry Mooney said Shawn Mooney was medically cleared to play by a doctor at Methodist Hospital in Merrillville and was thankful his son’s 13-year football career didn’t end with him being taken off the field on a stretcher.
Instead, Shawn Mooney was a catalyst in Times’ No. 7 Lowell’s 34-7 victory over No. 5 Hobart.
“It kind of put things in perspective,” Harry Mooney said. “He gave us a scare. They ran a CAT scan, did some X-rays and checked him out to make sure everything was OK. They released him, and we probably got home at about 2 in the morning.”
Harry Mooney said his son had a “stinger” when he attempted to make a tackle against Andrean and was considerably sore the following day. Shawn Mooney participated in limited practices throughout the week as a precaution, but his mother, Tina Mooney, said she trusted her son to make the right decision about his health and safety.
“He was more concerned about his jersey because they cut his jersey off of him,” Tina Mooney said with a laugh. “He was like, ‘What am I going to wear?’”
Luckily Shawn Mooney didn’t need his white road jersey for Lowell’s final regular season home contest, and more importantly he showed no lingering effects of an injury on the field. He played on offense, defense and special teams – just like he always does – and made a big play in the first half to break the game open.
Shawn Mooney was already the holder on a pair of field goals from junior kicker Nate Gard that gave the Red Devils (7-2, 4-1) a 6-0 lead. But late in the second quarter, he caught a 29-yard pass from senior quarterback Ethan Igras – Lowell’s longest play of the first half – that put his squad in the red zone. A few plays later, senior running back Tyler Wildman punched in his 10th touchdown of the season on a 1-yard run.
“There’s nothing better than being out here in the Inferno with the crowd full,” Shawn Mooney said. “I get the chills just talking about it. Making that catch and everyone is already roaring, it means everything.”
Shawn Mooney said when he went down against the 59ers, he couldn't stand up because he lost a bit of feeling in his extremities. The senior added that he was grateful to not have a hospital visit be the last moment of his final high school season or entire career.
"You just gotta act like it never happened," Shawn Mooney said. "And it was pretty scary, but you can't let that hold you back from going out with this team and seeing what we're capable of."
After a failed two-point conversion, Shawn Mooney’s catch helped Lowell take a 12-0 lead into halftime. And following a quiet third quarter, the Red Devils scored three more touchdowns in the final period to cap off their wire-to-wire victory over the Brickies (7-2, 3-2).
On Lowell's final drive, running back Rylee Torrence provided the most exciting play of the game for his first score of the season. The senior took a handoff from Igras, broke a few tackles and dashed up the visiting sideline for a 63-yard touchdown with less than a minute to play. Shawn Mooney celebrated with Torrence and posed for a team picture following the game to commemorate their senior night victory.
“Our kids are tough,” Red Devils coach Keith Kilmer said. “Shawn had a little scare last week. Our trainers and doctors did a good job, (putting) precautions first. And luckily it wasn’t anything to worry too much about. He didn’t miss a minute of practice and it paid off here on Friday night.”