Lukas Moore --
Smooth. It's the perfect word to describe Joey Moore's game. His look too, the Junior looked the part of "star quarterback" in warmups at Waverly. He walked around the field with confidence, and the Bulldog uniform fit him like a dream. He even has an arm sleeve that makes him look like a Madden created player.
The new Athens quarterback set off some fireworks, and had some rookie mistakes in his debut. Athens lost to playoff-caliber Waverly, 30-27, in a game the Bulldogs will look back on as one that got away. Moore was 24/38 (63%) for 278 yards with three touchdowns through the air. He also added 60 yards on the ground on 26 attempts, a mixture of designed runs and scrambles.
The ball zipped out of Moore's hand with unexpected strength, even on a wet field. His accuracy on short and intermediate passes was excellent.
His deep throws need a little fine tuning, but he tossed a couple darts that traveled 40+ yards in the air. Including a 42 yard touchdown to Braeden Halbert that put Athens at a 27-14 advantage in half one.
Moore slid around in the pocket like a seasoned veteran. His speed was noticeable, and his elusiveness was impressive. Even during his scrambles Moore kept his eyes downfield, and after he made a poor decision, he bounced back and made a better one.
Athens coach Nathan White has designed his entire offense around Moore's ability. Not just ability to throw and run, but his ability to read a defense. White is a man to trust on quarterbacks. The last three who embraced his teachings finished as all-state quarterbacks. Moore had a few questionable reads, but so does every quarterback in their first taste of varsity action.
Joey Burrow lost his debut as an Athens Bulldog quarterback too. Burrow lost to a playoff-bound Gallia, 52-34. He actually performed worse than Moore did on Friday. Burrow had 50 less yards through the air, the same amount of TD's, and ran for less yardage than Moore.
I'm not saying Moore is Burrow. Burrow never lost a regular season game again and was only a sophomore in his debut, while Moore is a Junior. But Moore checked every box in his debut, and then some. If Payton Shoemaker didn't scamper for 207 yards and 4 TD's for the Waverly Tigers, Moore would've been the best player on the field Friday.
Moore will only get better this season. The way he performed on the road, on a wet field, against a program that's made three consecutive playoff appearances in division 4, should terrify the TVC-Ohio.
Moore will have some jaw-dropping numbers over the next 9 weeks just on talent alone. Add in a genius game plan from Coach White and Moore might lead the TVC in passing and be among the leaders in rushing. Moore's combination of arm strength, accuracy, mobility, and commanding an offense has already vaulted him into being the best quarterback in the conference.
His performance translating to wins, however, will rely on the Bulldogs defense and skill position payers. Bad tackling, procedure penalties, and drops plagued Athens in Waverly.
Moore will be tested in front of the home fans this Friday as Jackson (1-0) comes in trying to make a statement.