In small-town American, it’s only fitting that every teenage boy grows up wanting to be a football player.
In Oklahoma, these same young men either bleed ‘Sooner Red’ or ‘Cowboy Orange’.
For Claremore High School junior Joey Moore, there’s only team that gets his blood pumping every Friday night.
Moore eats, sleeps and breathes Claremore Zebra football.
He wakes up every morning Monday through Friday anxious to get to practice so he can put on that red-and-white uniform and buckle the chin-strap on his white helmet with a red ‘Z’.
Some may question why he loves his team so much, but it’s obvious that Moore represents the ‘heart and soul’ of the Claremore Zebra football program.
At 5-foot-3 and 180-pounds, the chances of Moore of seeing the field on Friday nights may seem minimal, but the time he’s out there, the junior linebacker gives 110 percent and never backs away from instruction.
According to Claremore athletic director Brent Payne, “Joey’s really a great kid to be around.”
His teammates are his biggest supporters, Payne added, and the football coaches like having him on the team.
Earlier this summer during Zebra Pride, the coaches asked Moore if he wanted to be the team manager.
Moore simply turned it down because his dream has always been to wear a Zebra uniform and run out of the tunnel with his friends.
In a lot of ways, Moore could be characterized as Claremore’s version of ‘Rudy’.
The guy that gave it his all, worked hard to achieve his dreams and came to practice every day knowing his role on the team may not be in the spotlight.
Like Dan ‘Rudy’ Ruettiger, Moore just wants a chance to make a play on Friday night in front of the Zebra fans at Lantow Field.
Against Skiatook, in the junior varsity scrimmage Friday night, Moore ran out on the field with passion and determination.
Underneath the Friday night lights, Moore was living out his dream to some extent.
It wasn’t the varsity game, but it didn’t matter.
Moore was on the field instead of the stands and people were cheering for him.
‘... come on Joey, make a tackle.’
‘... let’s go Joey Moore, you’re the man.’
‘... way to plug the hole and run to the ball Moore.’
Voices of encouragement, both from his teammates and his coaches, had to calm this young man’s jitters.
If the butterflies were fluttering inside his body, it didn’t show on the field.
Moore’s motor was running ‘hot’ and full of gasoline.
He lined up at inside linebacker for five snaps on defense. And, to top it off, he even assisted on a tackle.
From the sidelines, players chanted, ‘... that a way, Joey.’
On this Friday night, Claremore’s Moore turned his fantasy into reality.