Ryun Moore has been referred to by Riverhead High School football coach Leif Shay as the team’s future. On Friday, though, the future became the present when Moore, a sophomore, was handed the starting running back assignment in the Long Island Class II championship game.
That’s a big spot for a young player. Moore admitted he felt nervous as the team bus pulled into the Hofstra University parking lot, “but after the first play, all of that goes away, you know. Football is football.”
Indeed, with a Long Island championship on the line, a game was to be played, and Moore played well in Riverhead’s 20-6 loss to Carey at James M. Shuart Stadium.
Two first-string Riverhead players, running back Jeremiah Cheatom and outside linebacker Taiheem McKay, both seniors, had to sit out the Long Island final. That meant a heavy dose of double duty for Moore, who also started on defense at outside linebacker.
“We had a lot of confidence in him,” Shay said. “There’s a difference between being the number one back and then being the complimentary back.”
Moore said he was excited by the opportunity to be his team’s primary ball carrier, and he didn’t let the Blue Waves down. Facing a tough Carey defense anchored by the likes of Conor Colasurdo (8 1/2 tackles), Matt Robison (7 1/2 tackles) and Joseph Lucito (7 tackles, 1/2 sack), Moore had his work cut out for him. Running behind an offensive line of tackles Michael Drexel and Ethan Greenidge, guards Jonathan Lee and Ryan Harkin, and center Edward Wills, he got the job done. Moore averaged 6.3 yards per carry and totaled a game-high 126 rushing yards, his longest run going for 30 yards.
That wasn’t all, either. Moore excelled on both sides of the ball. He made a team-leading 7 tackles, including one for a loss and forced a fumble.
“Ryun stepped up big and played his heart out,” said Riverhead senior Jaron Greenidge. Greenidge added: “He’s going to be something special in two years. … He’s going to be here again.”
Shay knows what type of an athlete he has in Moore. “He’s a good football player,” the coach said. “He’s matured a lot, too. He’s understanding that, ‘Hey, I got to make those tough three- and four-yard runs.’ Not every play is going to be a touchdown like it was on JV.”
This wasn’t the first time that Moore started a game at running back for Riverhead; it was his third start at that position. With Cheatom ineligible to play in the season opener against North Babylon, Moore used his explosiveness to produce 112 yards and a touchdown from 18 carries in that game.
Jaron Greenidge gave kudos to Moore and two other sophomores. “Tyrese Kerr, Ryun Moore and Sharon Trent are going to be, I’d say, superstars in two years,” said Greenidge.
Following the loss to Carey, Moore reflected on a season that he couldn’t feel too bad about.
“This was a great season,” he said. “Back in August, before two-a-days started, I honestly didn’t think we were going to make it back this far. We made it to LIC — again — so it’s a good feeling. A great season.”
With Moore returning next year, the Blue Waves have more to look forward to. They already know that Moore can carry the load offensively.
“He’ll come in next year and be a good player for us,” Shay said. “He’s the future. You’re going to see a lot of that kid in the future.”