Mr. Football won’t officially be determined until January after a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters files its votes.
But on Sunday, Rondale Moore made a strong case that the debate over who’s the best senior in the state of Kentucky should be closed.
Moore, who has committed to the University of Texas, was electrifying in Trinity’s 38-21 win against St. Xavier in the Class 6A Russell Athletic/KHSAA Commonwealth Gridiron Bowl championship game Sunday afternoon at Kroger Field.
He gashed the Tigers for 288 total yards and three touchdowns to lead the Shamrocks to their record 25th state title and second in a row. The Shamrocks (15-0) have gone undefeated in back-to-back seasons. Moore rushed for 174 yards on 19 carries and caught five passes for 114 yards.
With Trinity trailing 7-0, Moore turned a short pass from quarterback Nick Bohn into a 62-yard touchdown. It was his 100th catch of the season. On the Shamrocks’ next possession, Moore burst through the middle of the line and raced 93 yards for a score. Trinity never trailed after that.
“I’ve gotta give credit to my offensive line on that one,” Moore said. “Everybody did a great job blocking on that play and I just made one cut and took off.”
The Shamrocks senior signal-caller certainly believes Moore made a compelling Mr. Football case in the win.
“That kid is insane,” Bohn said. “He has the hardest work ethic I’ve ever seen in my life ... He totally deserves Mr. Football. He’s the best player in the state, if not the nation. He should definitely win it.”
Late in the game, St. Xavier cut the lead to 35-21 on a 13-yard touchdown run by quarterback Jack Albers. But Bohn, who finished with 286 passing yards and three touchdowns, knew the right recipe to salt the game away.
“After they scored I went to Coach (Bob Beatty) and said, ‘Let’s just give the ball to Rondale. He’s gonna make plays and move the chains, and that’s what we needed right there,’” Bohn said.
Moore rushed three times in a row, giving the Shamrocks a first down to open a clock-killing drive. A few plays later he turned a short pass over the middle into a 25-yard gain, setting up a 24-yard field goal by Sebastian Mata that pushed the lead back to three possessions.
“That was one of the most important drives of the game, and we just knew we could lean on Rondale to get it done, and he did,” Bohn said.
Asked about his Moore-heavy game plan, Beatty offered an equine analogy.
“If you’ve got a Thoroughbred, you’re gonna ride him,” Beatty said. “He did not disappoint. He was nicked up a little bit with an ankle (injury) but he fought through it. ... He was fabulous.”
As for Moore, he’s keeping things in perspective when it comes to the Mr. Football debate.
“If I don’t win it, it’s just another chip on my shoulder,” he said. “But we just won a state championship. That’s the most important thing. That’s something none of us will ever forget.”
BOX SCORE: TRINITY 38, ST. XAVIER 21