Lynn Moore laughed when his younger brother, Alan, talked last fall about becoming a college football kicker.
“I asked him, ‘Have you lost your mind?’ ” said Moore, who at the time was athletics director at Itawamba AHS. “He said, ‘No, I think I can still kick.’”
The next weekend, 60-year-old Alan Moore showed up at his brother’s house with three footballs and a kicking tee. Lynn Moore, who is now the offensive coordinator at Anniston (Ala.) High School, didn’t offer much encouragement.
“I told him they don’t use a tee now,” he said. “He got out there in the yard and kicked a few head high. I’m thinking to myself, ‘You’re wasting your time.’’’
Fast forward to August 2010. Alan Moore, a kicker in 1968 for Jones Junior College’s national championship team, tries out for and lands a job as a backup kicker for Holmes Community College in Goodman.
Moore could see his first game action tonight when the Bulldogs host Northeast at 7 in an MACJC North Division game.
“It’s been awesome, absolutely awesome,” Alan Moore said of his return to football. “I wish everybody had the opportunity to do something like this.”
Moore, who kicks straight-on with a square-toed shoe, is confident in his accuracy from 35 yards and in. He kicked a 47-yard field goal during his high school playing days at Taylorsville.
“I kicked one from 40 yards last week to close out a practice,” said Moore, who has “Head Down … Believe” written atop his kicking shoe. “My leg doesn’t respond like it did 42 years ago, but I’ve enjoyed it.”
He was cleared to play by the MACJC because he, technically, has one year of eligibility remaining.
Moore didn’t play at Jones his sophomore season, opting instead to join the Army and do a tour in Vietnam. When he left the service three years later he went into the construction business, got married and raised a family.
His wife, Janice, and one daughter are at home in Homestead, Fla. He has two daughters living and working in Mississippi.
“I haven’t been home in nine months because I’m kicking a football in Mississippi,” Moore said, then laughed. “That’s being committed.”
When Moore, who wears No. 80, does get the opportunity to kick in a game, he will become the oldest player ever to play football in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA).
According to a Holmes news release: “Tom Thompson, 61, of Coppell, Texas, became the oldest player to play college football in 2009 when he kicked for Austin College. Moore would not be the oldest NJCAA student-athlete because Ken Mink, 73, played several basketball games two years ago for Roane State Community College in Harriman, Tenn.”
Holmes coach Danny Robertson admits he was somewhat skeptical when Moore came to him seeking a tryout.
“I was worried about bringing in a 60-year-old kicker,” he said. “I wondered if the guys would accept him. I wondered if he’d be a distraction.
“Well, they’ve accepted him. He fits in well.”
Moore has enjoyed his relationship with his teammates, who often call him as “Pops,” “Moses,” and “Old Man.”
“The players, the coaching staff and the faculty have been awesome, so respectful,” he said. “I knew they’d have to all accept me to make it work.
“I don’t know why I’m doing it. I guess the motivation that I could do it.”
Moore wanted to play for Jones, but the program turned him away. Now, he says, he’s on a mission to beat the Bobcats. Holmes travels to Ellisville to play JCJC Sept. 30.
“I have a point to prove,” he said.
Robertson, who calls his backup kicker, “Mr. Moore,” is confident his senior citizen will be successful when his number is called.
“He can kick,” the coach said. “He’s the best 60-year-old kicker in America. I’m amazed that he can come out and do it every day. It’s really impressive to watch.
“I hope this works out. If the situation presents itself, I feel like it will happen. He understands the team is first and he’s the backup kicker.”
Moore, who has waited 42 years for this second opportunity, says he just wants to help his team.
“I’m proud that I’ve been able to do this,” he said. “I know at some point, I’m going to get the opportunity … and I hope to kick it right down the middle.”
Coahoma (2-1, 1-0) at Northwest (3-0, 1-0)
Kickoff: 6:30 p.m.
– Coahoma whipped Holmes 41-14 last week while the host Rangers knocked off East Mississippi 25-19. Northwest’s offense is ranked fourth
in the MACJC.
East Mississippi (0-3, 0-1) at Itawamba (1-2, 0-0)
Kickoff: 7 p.m.
– ICC defeated East Central 21-14 last week for the its first win. The Indians, who are rated last in the league in total defense, face an East Mississippi team averaging 439
yards per game.
Northeast (2-1, 1-0) at Holmes (0-3, 0-1)
Kickoff: 7 p.m.
– Jaquise Cook rushed for 144 yards and scored a TD in the Tigers’ 26-13 win against Mississippi Delta. Northeast is rated No. 1 in the league in total defense, giving up
207 yards per game.
Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal