A lot has changed for Abbeville’s running game this season, but one of few constants is senior J.D. Moore.
Moore is the Player of the Week for Week 2 after rushing for 171 yards on 14 carries and a touchdown in a 20-0 win against Emerald Friday night at Hite Stadium.
Moore has reinvigorated Abbeville’s running game in the past two weeks after switching from quarterback to wingback. Moore was prepared to make the switch at the beginning of the season.
“I said I’ll do what’s best for the team, and that worked out,” Moore said.
At wingback, Moore lines up on the end of the offensive line. The move maximizes his speed on the edge, instead of running him down the middle at quarterback.
On Moore’s touchdown Friday against Emerald, he cut up the field after taking a handoff and juked two Emerald defenders before sprinting straight for the end zone on a 27-yard run.
Abbeville coach Jamie Nickles said one of his junior varsity coaches brought up the idea of a change to wingback before the season started.
“It was a mutual thing,” Nickles said. “He was all for it. It’s helped his numbers, but mainly you see his unselfishness with that.”
Nickles said he would like to keep Moore at wingback and move him back to quarterback for certain game situations or plays.
The Panthers had a loaded running game that included several seniors last season, but Moore is one of few experienced players who run the ball this season.
To make matters worse, running backs Cruz Temple and Navi Marshall have battled injuries in the early weeks of the season.
“I would say we have to work harder,” Moore said of this season’s group of running backs. “We had more skilled backs (last season), more veteran backs. I know I have to put the newer backs on my back and lead them.”
Moore is also playing cornerback for the Panthers this season. He didn’t need to play defense much last season, but a smaller roster and younger team have called for Moore to play both ways.
“He was important last year,” Nickles said. “This year we’ve asked him to be a leader, so he’s had to be a leader.”
On either side of the ball, Moore has shown his willingness to adjust to what the Panthers need.
“I know I got to take care of my body throughout the whole week,” Moore said. “But if I know it’s helping the team, me playing both ways, I’ll do it.”