Grovetown at Buford
When: 7:30 tonight
Where: Tom Riden Stadium, Buford
Coaches: Buford, Jess Simpson; Grovetown, Rodney Holder.
Key players: Buford, OL/DL Kolton Houston (6-4, 280 Sr.); OL Du’Von Millsap (6-5, 330 Sr.); FB/LB Jessel Curry (6-2, 215 Sr.). Grovetown RB Seth Hill (5-11, 185 Sr.); DE Dominique Mingo (6-3, 215 Sr.); OL/DL Marvon Danzie (6-4, 235 Sr.).
Outlook: There’s got to be a certain amount of respect for the ambitious schedule that the Warriors have crafted for their inaugural season. Aside from the fact that the first game in school is against back-to-back defending Class AA state champion Wolves, they also have a game against Class AAAAA powerhouse Northside-Warner Robins this year. Scheduling Grovetown’s first game against Buford was actually intentional on Holder’s part. With a team of only about 20 percent of the players that have previously played varsity football before, he wanted to set an image in his players’ minds of what a top-caliber program looks like. Grovetown is led by Hill at running back, a 1,500-yard rusher last year at Harlem. Grovetown, which is part of Region 3-AAAA, will be a non-region schedule this season. The Warriors also have a pair of games this season against both Langston Hughes and Walnut Grove, also new schools. Still, the home opener for the Wolves will serve a purpose for Buford. Simpson is hoping to give immediate varsity exposure to his younger players, as see how players perform under the glare of the lights on Friday night. After this game, the Wolves have a bye then their final non-region game this season on Sept. 4 against North Hall.
Prediction: BUFORD. This game will serve as scrimmage Part II for the Wolves.
BUFORD — Just last year, Buford sophomore C.J. Moore took up a foot race that, on the surface, seems would have been a breeze to win for the fastest player in the football program.
Moore, a three-sport athlete at Buford High, would run the 100-meter dash against his aunt, who was running the 100 hurdles.
As a Region 6-AA champion and state placer in the 100 his freshman year, it would seem there would be no way under normal conditions that the Wolves’ speedster, and player in all three phases of the game for the football team, could lose this race.
Moore’s aunt, however, is three-time Olympic gold medalist Gail Devers.
Despite the inherent advantage with the terms of the race, Moore came up on the losing end against the woman once known as the fastest woman in the world. However, he doesn’t try to compete regularly head-to-head against his aunt, instead opting for her training input to become a better football player.
Moore will see his first varsity playing time when the Wolves open the season against Grovetown at 7:30 tonight at Tom Riden Stadium.
"It means a lot to be able to train with her," Moore said. "She gives me good advice on staying loose and warmed up while I’m at meets."
Moore’s athletic lineage in his family doesn’t stop with Devers, an aunt by marriage. His mother Monica Moore ran track in college with Devers at UCLA. His father, Chris Moore, and his uncle Mike Phillips, Devers’ husband, both played football in college and both had the opportunity to play in the NFL.
Clearly, that family background is having an impact on Moore, who is the fastest player on Buford’s football team. Moore has been clocked running a 4.36 in the 40-yard dash, and is targeted as a key player this season at cornerback, kick/punt returner and running back by Wolves coach Jess Simpson.
"C.J. is what I call 4.fast," Simpson said, categorizing his speed. "He’s a great kid with great potential as a football player."
Since playing last season on junior varsity, Buford’s coaching staff just sees endless potential with Moore’s development.
Wolves defensive backs coach, and Buford track coach, David Snell says that Moore’s movements on defense are instinctive and he seems to be extremely efficient in his coverage skills. As Moore continues to grow, Snell sees a player that will become a major force for the football team.
"He’s what we call fast twitch," Snell said. "His genes certainly play a big part in that."
Listening to Moore talk, using track as a resource to becoming a better football player comes naturally, especially since he hopes to play in the NFL someday. If that’s the case, he’ll be able to lean on his aunt, who resides in Gwinnett County, for years to come.
Devers’ training tools are in high demand and she is constantly working with college football players on speed training.
Simpson says one of the more attractive aspects of the way that Moore plays the game is that his speed translates well to the football field. Last year, Moore won the 100 and placed third in the 200 at the region meet, and went on to place in the 100 at state.
Now Simpson hopes that speed on the track makes Moore a player he’ll be able to use in all phases of the game for the coming three seasons.
"C.J. certainly has been blessed," Simpson says. "He’s one of those guys who’s been fast all his life."