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Football: Back in contact – Lineman rejoins Eagles after injury-shortened season

By Richard Greene | Published Saturday, August 12, 2017
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Ready to Hit

READY TO HIT – After a leg injury ended his season in the fourth game last year, Morgan Picha is back on the field for the Decatur Eagles at tackle. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Loaded down with his shoulder pads and wearing his white helmet, Morgan Picha fired off on command and crashed at full speed into a teammate, starting a battle of will.

“We hit each other and try to drive each other back,” said the junior left tackle, describing the drill called the Eagles’ nest.

“It was a good way to start. It felt good to hit again. It good for all of us to get the pads back on.”

The strong 6-4, 260-pound lineman had spent the past 11 months waiting for the opportunity to strap the pads back on and get on the field to complete a comeback.

“It’s been a really long time,” Picha said.

The starting lineman’s season ended last September in the Eagles’ win over Stephenville. Picha fired off the ball to block a defender on a running play. He was 15 yards down the field when he became tangled up with his teammate, running back Payton McAlister.

Trying to get off the turf, Picha instantly knew something was wrong.

“I tried to get up and felt the bone slide,” Picha said. “I went down and couldn’t get back up.”

The violent collision fractured Picha’s right fibula and dislocated his ankle.

“It was tough. The swelling started immediately,” Picha recalled. “I had surgery within two weeks.”

Pulling down his sock and pointing to the visible and deep scar on his ankle, he explained that surgeons put in a plate and a bolt on the inside of his ankle.

He was forced to watch from the sidelines as the Eagles made a trip to the second round of the playoffs.

“It was very frustrating,” he said about not getting to play.

But he was able to make a relatively quick recovery, getting a release to play basketball during district play.

As football season begins, he claims to be 100 percent.

“I’m perfectly fine and ready to go,” he said. “I’ve got to a point where I can trust [the ankle].”

Picha starts the season two inches taller and nearly 40 pounds heavier than last year.

“He’s moving around great and looks good,” said Decatur coach Mike Fuller. “He’s a lot bigger. Our line in general is big.”

Along with Picha, most of the line received substantial playing time last year due to injuries. The Eagles bring back starters Ty Watson, Adrian Cantu and Colby Murillo with Picha.

“Coach said it’s one of the biggest offensive lines he’s had,” Picha said. “Everyone has to be able to work together.”

Picha’s teammates are anxious to see him back in action.

“He’s bigger, stronger and faster. We’re excited to have him back on the field,” Watson said.

With the first collision out of the way, Picha is now ready to move ahead to the real action.

Back on Feet

BACK ON FEET – After missing a large portion of last season, Morgan Picha is back in the lineup for the Eagles. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

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