BLOOMINGTON — Griffin Moore won’t be a quarterback again after the current Bloomington High School football season ends.
Yet before Moore moves on to join the ranks of tight ends at the University of Illinois, the Purple Raiders senior is throwing himself and his teammates a memorable going away party.
“It all came kind of fast. Coaches have always told me ‘you’ll be a tight end in college,’” Moore said Thursday at Fred Carlton Field. “I’m enjoying playing quarterback while I can, knowing it’s almost over. I love having the ball in my hands every play and being able to make plays.”
Moore and his offensive partners in yardage have produced 39.5 points per game through seven games as BHS stands at 5-2 overall and 4-2 in the Big 12 entering Friday’s 7 p.m. game at 4-3 Peoria High. A sixth win would wrap up the Raiders’ first playoff berth since 2013.
“We definitely want to get back to the playoffs. Us group of seniors have said for a long time we wanted to be the group to get back to the playoffs,” said Moore. “We’re ready for this week and understand what this week holds.
"If we win this week and win next week, we’ll have a playoff game at home. That’s a big deal to us and something we definitely want to get done.”
Moore has completed an exceptional 71 percent of his passes to rank second in the Pantagraph area with 1,339 yards through the air. Moore has tossed 17 touchdown passes and been intercepted just five times.
“He can make all the throws and he understands the game,” first-year BHS coach Scott Godfrey said. “He’s getting better and better at reading coverages. He really is a good leader and a good kid.”
Moore, who also has 187 rushing yards, credits his receivers — Drew Crooks, Mauliek Johnson, Ivan Smith and Diontay Griffin all have at least 15 catches — for his formidable rate of completed passes.
“I couldn’t ask for better receivers. I have the best receivers in the conference,” said Moore. “They make it very easy for me to get them the ball. Those guys have my trust. I’m more than willing to just throw the ball up and let them make a play.”
“We work really hard in the offseason so our timing and chemistry since freshman year has been outstanding,” Crooks said. “Especially this year, it’s really showing.”
Moore admitted some initial hesitancy when Godfrey was named to replace Joe Walters as BHS head coach.
“It was a total shock,” Moore said. “But it couldn’t have worked out any better. I’m very grateful to have him and very excited to see where this program goes in the future as well.”
Godfrey believes Moore’s acceptance of him helped pave the way for a successful first season.
“Coming from out of town, I knew I would have to get some guys on board,” said Godfrey. “A guy with Division I offers, if you get him behind you the rest of the guys start to buy in, and he was great with that from the very start.”
The 6-foot-4, 230-pound Moore will sign a national letter of intent with Illinois in December.
“I’m so happy going to Illinois. I couldn’t ask for a better situation,” Moore said. “Even if I had every offer in the country, I would have a hard time saying no to Illinois. I’m very excited to get there.”
After football, Moore will again play basketball and may even return to baseball in the spring of his senior year.
“Weight wise I’m about where I want to be,” said Moore of joining the Illini next summer. “They will probably put maybe 10 more pounds on me. My body composition will change a lot. I’ll definitely be more cut.”
The son of BHS principal Tim Moore, Griffin has learned to thrive under that spotlight.
“When I do stuff it reflects on my parents as well. I make sure I’m doing the best I can and taking care of business,” Griffin said. “If you mess up, people are going to say ‘if the principal’s son can do it, I can do it, too.’”
The elder Moore played tight end at Eastern Illinois and was recruited out of high school in Evansville, Ind., by current Illinois State head coach Brock Spack.
“He’s definitely had some advice for me. It’s been like that forever,” said Griffin. “I never really knew how much of it would be useful down the road. Now it all comes back full circle.”