BEMIDJI – When the Bemidji High School football coaches were analyzing their personnel prior to the season, they tabbed Isaiah Moore as a running back and strong safety.
The senior had the speed and tenacity to fill the duties required of those positions and everyone was looking forward to the prospect of Moore going both ways for the Jacks.
Early in the two-a-day fall practice schedule, however, those plans went out the window.
“I was just trying to get out of the way during a kickoff drill when I rolled my ankle, tore some ligaments and then broke my fibula,” Moore said. “It was just a fluke.
“The worst part of the entire thing was when I went to the training room and TJ (trainer Jon Laakso) said I was out for the season.”
Unfortunately, Laakso’s diagnosis proved correct. Moore’s surgery appears to have been successful but his on-field contributions to the Lumberjacks football team were over.
“There was a great deal of frustration after the injury,” Moore said.
“I knew right away that I was done and that brought on some tears. I had worked so hard in the off-season to get ready for my senior year.”
After the surgery Moore was confronted with two options. Because he wasn’t going to play he could slap his teammates on the shoulder, wish them the very best and become a fan.
The other option, however, was becoming a team leader by continuing to be involved in the every-day happenings of the team.
“I’m not a vocal person but I felt that I needed to show up as soon as possible after my surgery,” Moore said. “I set the tone by working so hard in the weight room during the off-season and I wanted to continue to be part of the team.”
Moore’s dedication to his teammates was noticed as he was voted one of the squad’s five captains.
“It hurts to see my teammates out there and sometimes I still don’t feel like I’m part of the team,” Moore said. “But if my teammates say that I deserve to be a captain, I’ll accept that responsibility.”
Moore will take the walk to the 50-yard line Saturday night at the Metrodome for the coin flip prior to the state Class 5A semifinal game against Totino-Grace. And he wouldn’t be surprised if the Lumberjacks pull off the upset and return to the Metrodome on Nov. 24 for the championship game.
“Something wasn’t clicking with our team at the start of the year but the coaches have been able to put the right guys in the right places,” Moore said. “I’m very proud of this football family.
“I know we’re going to do well on Saturday. We have been an underdog team that has played with emotion. And it’s been an honor being a part of this team and of what we have accomplished,” Moore continued.