Those who mean the most to Eric Moore were shown briefly on the Lucas Oil Stadium jumbotron Friday night.
Shortly after the conclusion of Center Grove’s 38-7 blitzing of North Central, Moore’s wife, five children and mother were part of a premade video presentation congratulating the coach on his 200th career victory.
Trojans players awarded him the game ball.
“First game ball I’ve had in a long time. This is a hard place to have a recognition ceremony, especially with such a tight schedule,” said Moore, who before coming to Center Grove in 1999 enjoyed a successful run as a high school football coach in Florida.
“Some of the booster club people did a great job. I really do appreciate everything. This is a lot of Friday nights. It’s tough to do this. And to see my mom up there … I can’t believe I’m not crying like a baby right now.”
The No. 1 team in Class 6A started slow, but picked up steam the second and third quarters in beating North Central for the 15th time in 19 tries.
Center Grove’s Wing-T offense generated 327 yards rushing. Junior Titus McCoy led the way with 102 yards and a pair of touchdown runs on 12 carries. Senior quarterback Joey Siderewicz completed 9 of 11 passes for 109 yards — five going to Quinton Stirsman for a career-best 77 yards.
Defensively, the Trojans were, well, the Trojans. Swarming, intimidating, assignment sound.
North Central finished 172 total yards, yet more than half that came in the second half against Center Grove’s second- and third-team defensive players.
Afterward, some of Moore’s players spoke about the man who has meant so much to their development both as players and people.
- Senior safety Connor Steeb: “He’s a great coach and he’s been a great coach for a long time. Two-hundred wins is a lot of wins. We’re looking at a good season this year. We’re going to get even more,” senior safety Connor Steeb said.
- McCoy: “Coach Moore is a great leader. He leads us to victory, and it’s just amazing to be a part of this. It’s just incredible to see where we’re going right now.”
- Senior back Jackson Hohlt: “It’s amazing. He’s a great coach and really is important to all of us. He shows us how to win and how to work together as a team. He’s always pushing us, always trying to make us better. It was really important to us to get him that win.”
Based on recent history — Center Grove won the past three matchups with North Central by a combined count of 133-21 — the Trojans weren’t supposed to have any problems against the Panthers.
Center Grove finally put up points at 1:13 of the opening quarter when McCoy’s 2-yard touchdown run punctuated a 15-play, 85-yard scoring drive.
“We came out, tried to run the ball and their defense played well. Give them that. They came out, punched us in the mouth, but we came back and took it to them,” McCoy said.
Jackson Hohlt scored on a 14-yard run 43 seconds into the second stanza for a 14-0 Trojans advantage. Junior Trevor Hohlt (seven carries, 88 yards) made it in from 9 yards out at 7:59 of the second.
Touchdown runs from McCoy and Lee Clinker plus a Nathanael Snyder field goal of 30 yards pushed the advantage to 38-0.
North Central (0-5, 0-3) avoided the shutout with 2:59 remaining in the game, sophomore quarterback Cole Maguire throwing a 2-yard touchdown pass to Tyronne Caldwell.
Center Grove will play at Lawrence Central (2-3, 2-1) on Friday, then return home Oct. 2 for the Trojans’ Homecoming game against Pike.