LIVE OAK, Fla. — Whatever the Suwannee High football team needs, Jaquez Moore can provide it.
The junior playmaker lines up at quarterback, running back and wide receiver on offense, while also providing big plays on special teams and on defense.
Multi-purpose player would describe the college recruit very well.
So would Swiss Army Knife.
The Bulldogs’ leader in all-purpose yardage through four games with 440 yards, has provided some outstanding highlights already this season in helping Suwannee to a 3-1 start.
In Game 1 against Fort White, Moore scored two touchdowns, one running and one receiving. He excelled in the Week 2 win against Santa Fe when he ran 12 times for 111 yards, including two long TD runs. The first was a 55-yard run. The other, a 85-yard kickoff return for a score.
Then when quarterback Tyree Taylor went out with an injury, Moore came in and directed the game-winning TD drive against the Raiders.
Against Hamilton County, Moore added to his swag bag of accomplishments with a 32-yard punt return touchdown.
That’s four different ways he’s scored, and eight touchdowns total, but the junior wants more.
“I want over 500 yards in every category,” he said. “I made all-district last year and I want to make all-state this year.”
Even in Suwannee’s loss to Madison County last week, Moore stood out once again.
He scored three times, completed a 53-yard pass to set up one of his scoring runs, and also forced a fumble on defense, which he recovered. He also topped 100 yards rushing for the second time this year.
In tight situations, when the Bulldogs need him the most, Moore said he keeps things in focus.
“You gotta spark the game,” he said are the internal thoughts and motivation he uses in those situations.
And Suwannee coach Kyler Hall said the Bulldogs definitely do rely on Moore in those biggest moments.
“We put it on his shoulders,” Hall said.
Moore said he likes to think about providing a “spark” for the team when they need a momentum switch or when losing momentum.
That occurred at Santa Fe when the Raiders took their first lead late in the third quarter.
Right before the 85-yard kickoff runback Moore said he was getting ready to play offense, when Hall provided the spark for his game-changing play.
“Do you want to go to Clemson? Time to make a Clemson play,” Moore said Hall told him, knowing his preference to join the national power.
Moore, only used in certain circumstances to return kickoffs, went in.
“So I said a little prayer and sparked the game,” he said, and on the game-winning drive playing QB, “I’m familiar with being quarterback. I played for two years. It felt normal.”
Hall said Moore showed poise in the drive.
“The moment wasn’t too big for him,” Hall said. “And he has a knack for making big plays. We’re looking at an athlete who does a lot for us.”
SHS offensive coordinator Mike Braun added: “He does a little bit of everything for us; we run him at slot, tailback and quarterback.
“The goal with Jaquez is to try to get him touches in as many different ways as possible. Against Santa Fe, we put him at 12 yards a touch, which is about where we would love to have him.”
Moore said Georgia Southern and Southern Mississippi have shown him the most love so far. But, smiling, he again expressed his preference for Clemson.
As for his style of play, Moore said he is like Barry Sanders or a smaller Bo Jackson, though not a power runner.
“I can get close yards on fourth down, and I see holes before they open, and try to not let the first tackler get me down,” he said. “If the team needs yards, I’ll get them.”
He certainly does that. He routinely shed the first defender in the first half at Madison County, when his three scores kept the Bulldogs in step with the two-time defending state champion Cowboys.
On his long touchdown at Santa Fe, he stiff-armed a defender to the ground near the 25-yard line.
But being called on at any time to make plays at so many position isn’t hard, Moore said, “but sometimes it does get confusing.”
What helps is he’s got a QB mind, so he knows all the plays from that standpoint, and when he doesn’t remember there is always receivers coach Ricky Hufty, who reminds him of the task at hand.
“I can forget, and he does remind me and he coaches you up,” Moore said.
On the other side of the ball, Moore mainly plays safety, but coordinator Dan Marsee also likes to use Moore in different situations.
“He’s one of our most experienced guys, and he’s one of our leaders on both sides of the ball, Marsee said. “He’s going to be on the field on 90% of our defensive plays. He’s a well-rounded player, and we ask our safeties to fill the run, and well as play pass. He’s one of our more physical guys, we can depend on him on short yardage and to make tackles or play man coverage. He plays a little bit as outside linebacker.“
In the end, where he plays doesn’t matter for Moore. Just that he is playing.
“I love the game,” he said. “When I can’t play football it’s heartbreaking.”
It must be heartbreaking for opposing teams to watch him make plays all over the field.