By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
Charles Moore was Itawamba’s feature back last season. This year, he had to work hard to keep from being relegated to the back seat.
Moore, a senior, rushed for 1,375 yards and scored 22 touchdowns this season for the Indians.
Those are pretty amazing numbers considering he shared playing time with 4-star running back Ashton Shumpert, a player who logged 1,796 rushing yards and 25 TDs.
“I’m a team player; I just want to win,” Moore said. “I’ve known Ashton since my freshman year. He’s a great guy. He made be better on and off the football field.”
Moore plays his final prep game at noon today, when he takes part in the annual Bernard Blackwell Classic at Milner Stadium in Gulfport.
Shumpert began his high school football career at IAHS, then moved to Tupelo for two years before returning to Fulton last spring.
IAHS coach Toby Collums talked with both talented players before the season to tell them his game plan.
“I told them that we have several playmakers on offense, but we’ve only got one football,” Collums said. “It was never an issue for those two. They didn’t care who got the ball as long as we were successful.”
Behind the Moore-Shumpert Express, the Indians went 12-1 and lost to eventual 4A state champion Noxubee County in the state semifinals.
“We knew we had two guys back there who could give us a lot of production,” Collums said. “Ashton is a step or two faster. Charles is more of a workhorse. When have two guys like that in the same backfield, you feel pretty good about it.”
While Shumpert has drawn national interest from college recruiters, the 5-foot-10, 180-pound Moore has flown under the radar.
He hopes a solid showing in today’s televised all-star game will help his cause.
“It’s a blessing to be in this game, to be able to show my talent,” Moore said. “This is going to be all business for me, no playing. I’m excited about going down there.”
BERNARD BLACKWELL CLASSIC
WHO: North vs. South
WHAT: High school all-star football
WHERE: Gulfport High School
WHEN: Noon, today
AREA PLAYERS: RB Boston Newsome, New Albany; RB Charles Moore, IAHS; WR A.J. Hunt, Saltillo; WR Dario Robinson, Amory; ATH Tez Lane, West Point; TE Stanley Higgins, Starkville; OL Ross Smith, Booneville; OL Clifton Smith, Oxford; OL Brandon Hodges, Aberdeen;
DL Freddie Reed, West Point; DL Reggie Richey, Baldwyn; DL Deshawn Tillman, Bruce; LB Mario Virges, West Point; LB Justin Lucas, Aberdeen; DB Jacoby Smith, Starkville and K Jeb Millender, Pontotoc. Area assistants: Michael Gray, Baldwyn; Johnny Hill, Oxford.