Hudson Catholic senior wide receiver/defensive back Satchel Moore is definitely not your conventional high school football player.
For one, Moore is the son of former New York Jets standout All-Pro wide receiver Rob Moore, currently the wide receivers coach with the Oakland Raiders.
“He was always very supportive of me,” Moore said of his famous father. “I always wanted to be a running back and I actually thought I was going to be a running back, but then I grew (to 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds), so we thought it was best if I would be a receiver like him if I put my mind to it. But he didn’t force me to play football and was always there to help me. He was an important part of my life growing up.”
Moore also has a famous name, as he was named after the famed Hall of Fame baseball player Satchel Paige, who was known for a famous slogan, “Don’t look back, because you never know who’s gaining on you.” In fact, “Don’t Look Back,” was the name of the biographical movie of Paige’s life, played on screen by Academy Award winner Louis Gossett, Jr.
“As a receiver, you only have one thing in mind,” Satchel Moore said. “You want to catch the ball and score. You know people are trying to stop you, so you definitely have to keep looking forward. So it’s definitely fitting that I have that name. I always go all out and never look back with no regrets.”
Moore is also a special young man for other reasons. For one, Moore commutes every day from his home in Manhattan, leaving home at 5 a.m. daily to get to Jersey City in time for first bell. There are times that Moore doesn’t return home until 9 p.m. after practices, which include basketball practice in the winter and track practice in the spring.
“It’s definitely tough,” Moore said. “But I deal with it however I can. I try to do my homework at other times.”
Moore must be able to get the schoolwork done, because he’s able to maintain a 4.0 grade point average. Moore also attained a score of 1840 on the Scholastic Aptitude Test, so you can see why he’s being pursued by such prestigious schools as the University of Pennsylvania, Yale, Harvard and Holy Cross.
“I guess it shows a good thing about my work ethic,” Moore said. “I’m always studying and I’m always working hard. It’s a testament to my time management. I’m able to manage everything pretty well.”
Lately, Moore has been managing the football side to his incredible life pretty well, helping to lead Hudson Catholic to the NJSIAA state championship game for the first time since 2008.
Last week, in the Hawks’ 31-19 win over previously undefeated Montclair Kimberley Academy in the NJSIAA Non-Public Groups 1&2 semifinals, Moore had seven tackles and two pass break-ups on defense, while catching three passes for 60 yards and having all three receptions lead to clutch first downs, keeping scoring drives alive.
The victory catapulted the Hawks into the state title game next Sunday Dec. 6 against St. Joseph of Hammonton, which has won the last six state titles, including a win last year in the finals over St. Anthony. The title game will be played at Rowan University, beginning at 2:30 p.m.
For his efforts, Moore has been selected as The Hudson Reporter Athlete of the Week for the past week.
Moore said that his receptions really helped the Hawks’ offense get going last week.
“It was important to keep those [scoring] drives alive,” Moore said. “We had to keep the ball moving. Each drive led to a score. I think the catches really got the offense rolling. I saw the mismatch we had on the outside, with the guy trying to cover me. I just went up and got the ball.”
“He’s just a good athlete,” said Hudson Catholic head coach Lou Zampella, who was an assistant coach the last time the Hawks played for a state title. “And he’s just growing into his body. He just turned 17 years old, so his best years are ahead of him. We always thought that his upside was tremendous and he had so much potential. That potential is beginning to show now, especially over the last couple of games.”
Defensively, Moore likes being the free safety.
“I’m in the middle of the field and it’s very important for me to read the ball, because I’m the last guy back there,” Moore said. “It’s up to me to stop any deep ball. I have to make sure that I make the play.”
Zampella believes that Moore is a better defensive player, despite Moore’s father’s lineage and makeup.
“I would have to say he’s a better safety, but I’m a defensive guy,” said Zampella, a former defensive back whose background in coaching was on the defensive side. “He gets us in all the right adjustments back there. He’s tremendous getting to the ball when the ball is in the air. His ability to get to the ball is much improved.”
But his biggest achievements are in the classroom.
“He’s the smartest kid I’ve ever coached,” Zampella said. “I think it’s a tremendous accomplishment, the way he manages his time so well. A lot of other kids struggle with playing sports and doing schoolwork. This kid thrives. He’s so responsible with everything he does. I wish every kid could have a 4.0 GPA. He’s the poster child of what you want as a football player and student athlete.”
Zampella said that he loves showing Moore’s transcripts to colleges.
“His transcript is like the Honus Wagner baseball card,” Zampella said. “It’s so pristine and beautiful to look at. It’s tremendous for our program to have someone like him drawing interest from some great schools. It’s a pride thing when you can put a kid in a prestigious school like the ones that want Satchel.”
“I would love to play college football,” Moore said. “I like that the Ivy League schools are showing some interest. It’s also very humbling.”
Moore would like to study something in the business field.
“I like math,” Moore said. “I’m good in math.”
Seems like he’s good in practically everything he does, much like No. 85 was when he was with the Jets.
“I just wanted to make sure that I made it on my own talent,” Satchel Moore said. “I’m definitely proud of my father. There’s nothing to be embarrassed about. I just wanted to make it on my own.”
Moore wants to make sure he’s able to bring home the first-ever state football championship to Hudson Catholic.
“It would mean a lot to my teammates and me,” Moore said. “We’ve gone through the last three years together, working so hard. They deserve winning so much. We’ve always been the underdog. I like being considered the underdog.”
Funny, but it’s hard to consider a kid with a 4.0 GPA, with a famous name and a famous father, with a world of talent and Ivy League schools at his beckon call as an underdog. He’s just better off being Satchel Moore and let everything else fall into place, especially if the Hawks win the state title next week. – Jim Hague
Jim Hague can be reached at OGSMAR@aol.com.