COVINGTON — Collin Moore has been leading Fort Loramie’s high-scoring offense since 2018. This season, he’s helping lead the squad’s defense, too.
Moore, a senior quarterback, had another big game in the team’s 41-7 Cross County Conference win at Covington on Thursday by throwing for 222 yards and two touchdowns and running for 139 yards and three TDs.
But he also started at defensive back, as he’s done all year for the Redskins (4-0).
Moore made a couple of tackles and helped shut down Covington’s passing attack. The Buccaneers managed 28 passing yards and finished with just over 100 yards of total offense.
The double duty is new for Moore, who played sparingly on defense his sophomore and junior years. He recorded 2.5 tackles in 2018 and didn’t record any last year. Through Fort Loramie’s first three games this season, Moore made 6.5 tackles and three interceptions.
“I think Coach (Spencer) Wells was wanting to play mostly offense, but this year, I’ve had to step up because we don’t have as many (players) that can play defense,” Moore said. “It’s really working me. I think our conditioning is paying off, though. I get tired, but I just have to keep my head up like everybody else and win the next play.”
Moore is having another season full of fireworks displays under center. He’s rushed for 279 yards and 12 touchdowns and has thrown for 757 yards and 11 touchdowns with two interceptions.
“We’re spoiled rotten with him,” Wells, who is in his third year as a coach, said. “It’s (Moore’s) third year doing it. We think, and he’ll be the first to tell you, that he can be even better. There’s plenty of things he can continue to clean up. But he’s the leader of our team.
“… He’s as good of a runner as I’ve ever been around. He’s a special kid. He’s smart, and he likes the ball in key moments. We’re going to continue to ride him.”
Moore has been a big reason why the Redskins have won most of their regular-season games with running clock margins the last three seasons. He threw for 1,801 yards and 21 TDs with five interceptions as a sophomore and ran for 810 yards and 21 TDs. As a junior, he threw for 1,490 yards and 17 TDs with eight interceptions and ran for 331 yards and 17 TDs.
“I think I’ve gotten a lot better at trusting my progressions this year,” Moore said. “I think my arm strength has definitely gone up, and as a runner, I’ve definitely gotten stronger over the past three years. I think my running is more physical than it’s been the last three years.”
Fort Loramie steamrolled struggling Tri-County North 42-0 and Bethel 61-7 in Weeks 1 and 2, but Wells and Moore said the squad’s offense struggled to get into a rhythm in both the wins, partially due to the loss of Damon Mescher in the opener. Mescher, who accounted for 582 yards of offense and scored 10 TDs a year ago, was expected to be the team’s leading receiver but suffered a shoulder injury and will miss the rest of his junior season.
The Redskins found their offensive groove in a 47-0 win over Miami East in Week 3. They amassed 504 yards in the win and nearly surpassed 500 yards again on Thursday against Covington.
“We made some good plays the first few weeks, but we were just off a little bit in our timing and really getting in a rhythm offensively,” Wells said. “That’s something we’ve been talking a lot about, and I think that kind of came to fruition tonight.”
The Redskins, which have won the last two CCC titles, have stifled opponents this year. Covington, which gained most of its yards on the first drive of the game and took an early 7-0 lead, is the first opponent that scored and surpassed 100 yards of offense against Fort Loramie’s defensive starters.
“I takes 11 guys to do that, and they just win the next play any time something has gone bad,” Wells said.
The squad was without two of its starting cornerback on Thursday, one of which was Mescher. Wells credited junior Owen Pleiman for stepping up in the position. Pleiman came up with an interception in the fourth quarter which led to the Redskins’ final score and pushed the margin over 30 points to start a running clock.
“He stepped right up and played a whale of a game,” Wells said of Pleiman. “He made that interception and also made a lot of key tackles. I’m so proud of him and the defense in general with what they were able to do tonight.”
Moore helped Fort Loramie grab momentum after Covington took an early 7-0 lead.
The Buccaneers drove 68 yards on 11 plays on the first possession of the game and scored on a 4-yard run from Duncan Cooper to take a 7-0 lead with 6:38 left in the first quarter.
On Fort Loramie’s first offensive play, Moore ran straight up the middle through a hole about five yards wide and raced 65 yards for a touchdown to tie it up.
“That was probably the biggest hole I’ve ever ran through,” Moore said. “I think (Covington’s) linebackers split to the outside; I don’t know what they did. That was just a great hole and great blocking by our offensive line.”
Moore scored on a 3-yard run by the end of the first quarter and threw a 7-yard TD pass to Logan Eilerman early in the second. He connected with Eilerman again on a 49-yard TD pass with 2:48 left in the second to boost the lead to 27-7 at halftime.
Eilerman, a sophomore, has emerged as the team’s top receiver. He has caught 26 passes for 401 yards and six TDs this season.
“We’ve had a bunch of new guys jump in at new places, and I think from Week 1 to now, they’ve made that next step,” Moore said. “They’re all becoming really good receivers. Logan, he had a heck of a night tonight.”
Nate Meyer scored on a 5-yard TD run early in the fourth quarter, and Moore capped the game’s scoring shortly after with a 1-yard TD.
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.