GLEN — Following an opening week of high school football in which there was a buffet of outstanding individual performances to select from, one stood out above the rest.
Not only did the first honoree of the 2021 season play lights out, but it was also his first-ever organized game to participate in. Add to that the fact he only joined the team on Wednesday before a game that wasn’t even on the schedule until 48 hours prior to kickoff and there’s a story waiting to be told.
The first Daily Corinthian Player of the Week for this fall is senior wide receiver/defensive back Alex Moore of Alcorn Central.
“Simply put, we don’t win the game without him,” said his head coach Matt Meeks after the Golden Bears defeated Walnut for the first time since 1983. “He only came out for the team last Wednesday and it only took him being told just once what he needed to do on both sides of the ball and he did it. With a lot of players, it takes two or three times telling them, maybe more, before they start to catch on. With Alex, he is a smart kid but he’s also a pure athlete that can do just about anything on the football field … even on the basketball court.”
Oh yes, the hardwood is where Moore has made his name to this point before he even thought about putting on pads and a helmet. At one point last season, he was the area’s leading scorer, and very well could be this winter.
“No, I have never played football in my life until last week,” said Moore as he humbly accepted the Player of the Week certificate. “Keegan (Bradley, his basketball teammate) and I just decided to give football a try since coach Meeks mentioned it to us. I didn’t know what to expect when I walked out on that field at Walnut Friday but I knew I was gonna have fun.”
Moore used his 6-3 frame to haul in two touchdown receptions (one after a Wildcat defender tipped it), intercept two passes, make five tackles and break up three passes. The final PBU, in the end zone, saved the day for AC as it would have been the game-winner for Walnut had he not responded after breaking off his original assignment.
“I had the wide receiver on that play and he got behind me as I was waiting to get a good read on what the tight end was going to do,” said the Player of the Week. “When I saw their quarterback throw towards the receiver in the end zone I broke back towards him and had to really hustle to get there and get my hand up just enough to tip it away and save the touchdown.”
It was a fitting ending for a fairy-tale Player of the Week story. Moore finished with three receptions for 83 yards.
“It’s really incredible to think that he (Moore) did what he did even though his background is on the court and not on the field. And with only two days’ preparation, he really deserves this award,” said Meeks.
Moore wasn’t the only one to post Player of the Week-type numbers. The following are the finalists and honorable mention nominations, submitted by their coaches and supported by their game stats:
n Brawner Cregeen, Corinth; the junior quarterback lit up the Saltillo Tigers, completing 7-10 pass attempts for 261 yards and four touchdowns. He also ran for 15 yards and a fifth score. His 34.3 yards per completion was, by far, a career-best. Cregeen, who is receiving recent interests from various Division I universities, will likely see his name at the top of this list this season, maybe more than once.
n Chris Rodgers, Corinth; the junior running back, defensive back – despite facing double and triple-team coverage from the Tigers – had 135 yards on 13 rushes with two touchdowns while adding 115 yards on two receptions with both going for TD’s. Rodgers is another prime candidate for upcoming Player of the Week honors.
n Broderick Alexander, Corinth; the McNairy Central transfer showed Warrior fans what he is capable of in his first contest in red and black by rushing for 73 yards on just two carries (both coming on fake punts) along with two receptions for 60 yards and a touchdown.
n Drew Williams, Corinth; junior athlete produced 12 yards on six carries, with one of those being a highlight-reel 10-yard touchdown dive where he laid out around the three yard-line to touch the pylon for the score. He added a 52-yard reception for a TD.
n Charlie Staley, Alcorn Central; the senior running back rushed for 103 yards on 13 carries in the Golden Bears win at Walnut. He also added a 66-yard touchdown reception.
n Reed Johnson, Alcorn Central; the senior quarterback completed 2-4 passes for 65 yards and a touchdown.
n Talen Kemp, Alcorn Central; The senior shared time at QB with Johnson, completing 3-7 for 109 yards and a touchdown.
n Zion Nunn, Booneville; the true freshman running back had a night to remember, rushing for 212 yards on 17 carries (a 12.5 yards per carry average) in his first-ever game ever and scoring twice.
n Zion Young, Booneville; the junior running back teamed up with Nunn to produce 102 yards on nine carries as the Blue Devils rushed for a team total of 381 yards in a home win over Mooreville.
n L.J. Shumpert, Booneville; the senior athlete set the tone for his team, causing a Trooper fumble on their opening drive, then scooping up the loose ball and returning it 54 yards for a touchdown.
n Brady Kelly, Kossuth; the junior running back toted the pigskin 15 times for 80 yards in the Aggies’ last-second home loss to Baldwyn.
n Jathan Hatch, Biggersville; the sophomore rushed for 81 yards on 13 carries and a touchdown in the Lions win at West Lowndes.
n Drew Rowsey, Biggersville; the sophomore quarterback completed 4-7 passes for 194 yards (a ypc average of 48.5) with a touchdown.
n Dylan Rowsey, Biggersville; the junior caught two passes from his brother, Drew, for 112 and a touchdown.
n Hunter Johnson, Biggersville; had a pair of fumble recoveries, along with a smorgasbord of tackles and quarterback hurries to help his team defeat West Lowndes on the road.
n Tate Rogers, Kossuth; teamed with Kelly to run for 73 yards on eight carries and Kossuth’s only touchdown.
n Eli Dollar, Walnut; was the Wildcats leading rusher with 74 yards on 11 carries. He added a reception for seven yards.
n C.J. Adams, Walnut; recorded 63 yards on 10 carries with two touchdowns.
n Blake Counce, Tish County; the senior quarterback completed 9-16 for 92 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. He added 101 yards rushing on 14 carries for a total of 193 yards of total offense.