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Oklahoma high school football: Moore moves forward after memorable season

Moore football coach Brad Hill talks with members of his team during a practice Wednesday in Moore. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman]
Moore football coach Brad Hill talks with members of his team during a practice Wednesday in Moore. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman]

MOORE — Moore had a magical 2019 football season.

With quarterback Daniel Hishaw Jr. and running back Jayce Gardner making highlight-reel plays, the Lions won their first playoff game since 2002 and made it to the Class 6A-I state semifinals.

Moore’s 2020 class, which included Hishaw and Gardner, put the program back on the map.

An inexperienced group will try to help the Lions stay there.

Coach Brad Hill and his staff have spent the first week of practices trying to determine how to replace a senior class that had nearly 40 players, including nine defensive starters.

The Lions have an open quarterback competition and are turning to young players as the season approaches.

“We have two big holes to fill at quarterback and tailback, but we got open competitions,” Hill said. “We feel like we got some talented guys and it’s wide open.”

Several players are in the hunt to be named the starting quarterback.

The front-runner is senior Jake Woodring.

“He’s a really good leader,” Hill said. “Multi-sport kid. Plays catcher for the baseball team, and he’s got every intangible you would want.”

The coronavirus pandemic couldn’t have come at a worse time for a team trying to build camaraderie and establish new leaders.

Senior wide receiver Brandon Girard, who had 27 receptions for 607 yards and five touchdowns last season, said the health precautions have made it difficult for his teammates to connect.

“It definitely has been more challenging,” he said. “One of the things I love most about football is the brotherhood. With the coronavirus, we can’t have that brotherhood as much. We have to stay away from each other in the locker room. Only 25 of us allowed. … Some of these guys, I don’t even know really.”

Despite the challenges, the Lions feel like they are moving in the right direction.

Hill acknowledges he has big decisions to make before the season opener.

“We got a lot of guys that we’re looking at,” he said. “Trying to find exactly what our identity is going to be.”

Related Photos
<strong>Members of the Moore football team run through a drill during a practice Wednesday in Moore. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman]</strong>

Members of the Moore football team run through a drill during a practice Wednesday in Moore. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-bf170ccec0dfafb9f65d14c2e09a4dfd.jpg" alt="Photo - Members of the Moore football team run through a drill during a practice Wednesday in Moore. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] " title=" Members of the Moore football team run through a drill during a practice Wednesday in Moore. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> Members of the Moore football team run through a drill during a practice Wednesday in Moore. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-efd3a2032a1fe9e95df55e3b92eea5f4.jpg" alt="Photo - Moore football coach Brad Hill talks with members of his team during a practice Wednesday in Moore. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] " title=" Moore football coach Brad Hill talks with members of his team during a practice Wednesday in Moore. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> Moore football coach Brad Hill talks with members of his team during a practice Wednesday in Moore. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure>
Nick Sardis

Nick Sardis joined The Oklahoman in 2017, and he covers high school sports. Born and raised in Norman, he played baseball at Norman North High School and is a student at the University of Oklahoma. Read more ›

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