Lonnie Moore loves a challenge.
A 5-foot-10, 170-pound wide receiver, the senior licks his chops when he sees one-on-one coverage. It’s an opportunity to show what he’s all about, and move the Paul VI High School football team that much closer to the end zone.
That is, unless he finds it himself.
“When I see a defender in front of me, I just know I can always go and get the ball,” Moore said.
With scholarship offers from Temple, Monmouth, Maine, Holy Cross, North Carolina Central and James Madison, colleges know Moore has what it takes to be successful. He leads the Eagles with 25 catches for 444 yards and five touchdowns.
Moore has seven TDs overall, the other two coming in last week’s rout of Triton when he posted kickoff returns of 74 and 70 yards.
He finished last season with 35 catches for 739 yards and six touchdowns. Moore was also involved more in the ground game, rushing for 45 times for 510 yards and four TDs.
Expectations were certainly high coming into his final campaign and Moore has yet to disappoint.
“He wants to go against the defense’s best player every week,” coach John Doherty said. “He feels he can beat anybody one-on-one, even two-on-one. He has the confidence to do it.
“It’s his versatility, his athletic ability. His offense, defense, kicking game. He can do it all. His route running has become exceptional. That’s probably the area of his biggest growth.”
In an offense that leans slightly more toward the pass, Moore is a serious weapon. He had seven catches for 137 yards and two touchdowns in a win over Cherry Hill West, while making six catches for 146 yards and two scores in a tough setback against Delsea.
Like most who play his position, Moore has a connection with senior quarterback Matt Vitale.
“Matt will usually give me that look,” he says. “That’s when I know he’s going to throw the ball to me. It’s that one signal that he always gives me.
“Every time I step on the field, I feel like I’m the best player. I don’t care who’s in front of me. I’m just going to go get the ball.”
A lot of Moore’s confidence is generated by his father.
“He always says that when you step on the field, no one’s a friend,” Moore explained. “He gave me that killer instinct. Especially in football, you need to have that instinct on the field.”
Also a talented defensive back, Moore didn’t settle into his role as a wide receiver until he came to Paul VI. He played a lot of quarterback late in his midget career, finding himself thrust into the spotlight when his team went with a Wildcat formation.
He’ll take playing wide receiver over any other position on the field.
“I like the competition, the nature of the game,” Moore said. “I just like scoring touchdowns. The position that I’m in with the jet sweeps and the bubbles, it’s just the thing to do. I got lucky being in this generation.
“I’m just blessed. Every day, I come out and practice hard. You keep working hard and hard work will pay off.”
Paul VI is looking to qualify for the Non-Public Group 4 playoffs and will need Moore to continue making catches and scoring touchdowns. And while he knows that he may end up with the glory when six points go up on the scoreboard, nothing gets done without some help from his friends.
“It starts up front with the line,” he said. “The line sets the tone for the game. If the line is playing hard, you just feed off their energy. At that point you just have to go out and get it.”
Kevin Minnick; (856) 486-2424; email@example.com
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