If Friday night's 54-15 victory over Hickman at Robert M. LeMone Field is any indication, it won't take long for Fort Zumwalt West senior quarterback and Mizzou commit T.J. Moe to get comfortable when he gets to Columbia.
In the first district game for both teams and on senior night for the Kewpies (3-5), Moe accounted for all six of the Jaguars offensive touchdowns and amassed 425 yards of total offense — including 18 carries for 217 yards and four touchdowns.
"He's everything that he's cracked up to be," Hickman head coach Jason Wright said. "There's not a weakness in his game. They do enough in the passing game to beat you too. I felt like coming into the game we were going to have to shut one of those two down."
It looked early on like the Kewpies game plan might work out after an incomplete pass on Fort Zumwalt West's first drive forced them into fourth-and-7 from their own 24-yard line. An encroachment penalty turned fourth and long into fourth and very manageable. Moe went 19 yards off the right side on fourth-and-2 for the first down.
Five plays later Moe took it 10 yards for a Fort Zumwalt West touchdown and the Jaguars never looked back.
Moe would add two more rushing touchdowns before the half, as well as two scores through the air, including a perfectly thrown ball up the left sideline to senior wide receiver Brennan Longwell who took it 42 yards to paydirt with 4:37 remaining in the first quarter to make it 21-0.
The Kewpies lone highlight of the first half happened on the ensuing possession, when they used a gimmick formation that split two offensive linemen out wide to the right. The formation forced a Zumwalt timeout, and later in the drive the Kewpies scored out of the formation as junior quarterback Matt Herman hit sophomore wide receiver Wesley Leftwich in the left flat who went 68 yards for a touchdown up the left sideline to make it 21-7.
For the rest of the half, however, Hickman couldn't get anything going despite nine Jaguar penalties for a total of 70 yards. A team that prides itself on running the ball, the Kewpies only managed 21 yards rushing on 15 carries in the first half.
Moe, however, continued to run the ball with ease. His diverse skill-set was on display throughout the game, including his knack for hitting the big play.
Early in the third quarter, with the Jaguars already up 37-7, Moe dropped back to pass, scanned the field and when he saw nothing developing pulled the ball down and exploded through the right side of the line 45 yards for a touchdown.
Perhaps the most impressive trait that Moe showed off on Friday night was a patience in letting his blocks develop that may warrant the Missouri coaching staff to think twice before converting the 6-foot-1, 185-pounder to defense as is rumored.
Several times throughout the night Moe could be seen waiting for a seam to develop and bursting through for a big gain when it finally did. While his performance may stand out, Moe knows that it's the guys up front that allow him to make the plays that he does.
"I just know that I've got the best linemen anywhere around," Moe said. "They're going to get their job done and I just wait for them and hit the seam."
Moe and the line weren't the only Jaguars who were having their with the Kewpies either. Longwell had three catches for 98 yards and two touchdowns for Fort Zumwalt West, and added a third touchdown on a 75-yard interception return for a touchdown with 5:28 remaining in the 3rd quarter.
The loss may have been the last home game for the Kewpie seniors, but despite the severity of the loss, some of the Kewpies are still holding out hope. A new playoff system allows a district's top two teams to advance to the playoffs and may grant Hickman one more chance to end its season at home on a good note.
"It's never as bad as until it really hits that you and you're sure that it's your last time that you're ever going to play here," senior linemen Evan Conrad said. "Right now I'm thinking, 'We beat Troy, we beat Jeff City, we're in the playoffs and we're going to play here again.'"