WHEATON – Colin Moore was making plays all over the field Sept. 23.
The Wheaton Warrenville South senior contributed highlight-reel plays in all three phases – offense, defense and special teams.
But Moore was a tad bit slow in one key moment – running to celebrate with the Tigers’ student section after the postgame shaking of hands with St. Charles East.
“I’ve got to get a bit quicker next time because my buddy, Hunter Almada, beat me to them,” Moore said, laughing.
That was about the only time Moore wasn’t the center of attention in the DuKane Conference game.
Moore returned an interception for a touchdown and set up two other scores to spark the Tigers to a 27-0 victory over the Saints at Red Grange Field.
Moore, a free safety, helped set the stage for a memorable night on Homecoming. In front of a capacity crowd, Moore’s solid play ended the Tigers’ two-game losing streak.
Moore electrified the crowd with a 26-yard interception return for a touchdown for a 14-0 lead in the first quarter. He added a stunning 69-yard punt return to set up a field goal late in the second quarter and caught back-to-back passes for 41 yards that led to a 1-yard TD by quarterback Luca Carbonaro.
Moore said he was happy to end the Tigers’ skid, plus win the first conference game of the season. He caught three passes for 51 yards and returned two punts for 78 yards. The Tigers (2-3, 1-2) finished with four interceptions and did not allow a completed pass for positive yardage until late in the third quarter. Moore was nearly tackled several times at the start of his long punt return, weaving right to left before finding a wall and breaking loose along the far sidelines.
“My favorite play of the game was taking a knee and watching the guys celebrate,” Moore said. “I was happy to help the team win. On my punt return, I knew it was close to halftime and I gave it all I got. But credit to my guys, they blocked for like 20 seconds on that play. I knew our defense had this in it. We focused on not letting up the big play. We kept the big play away.”
While Moore had a hand in all three parts of the game, senior running back Jake Vozza helped send a powerful message on the first drive of the game.
Vozza, who carried the ball 19 times for 75 yards and a touchdown, was a one-man wrecking crew on the first drive. With the Tigers’ offensive line getting a strong push, Vozza ran the ball 10 straight times before ending the drive with an 8-yard TD for a 7-0 lead. Vozza wasn’t done after the first possession, taking a handoff on 15 of the first 16 plays for the Tigers.
“Our game plan was to come out in that flanker formation and just power the ball,” Vozza said. “The coaches trusted me and the offensive line got the job done. I just tried to get out there and read it all. I felt I was cruising out there. It set the tone. We wanted to come out and run the football. This win feels great after coming off those two bad losses in a row. It feels good to get our first conference win.”
The Saints (2-3, 1-2) could barely muster any offense against the Tigers’ stout defense. St. Charles East racked up just under 100 yards of total offense and hurt itself with four interceptions by two quarterbacks.
“Our emphasis all week was we felt we had to get back to the basics,” Wheaton Warrenville South coach Sean Norris said. “We needed to play physical football. From the beginning, we ran the football, which is a credit to the offensive line. They responded to that challenge. Colin Moore is the heart and soul of the team. He’s a captain and plays with so much heart. He had a phenomenal night. We knew we had to lean on him, and I’m so proud of how he responded.”