Turkey Bowls (November 23rd, 2023)
Reid Jones (Jr.); WR – Cardinal Hayes Cardinals
Earning his second Player of the Week distinction in less than a month (previously in week #8), the 6’2, 185-pound wide receiver out of Brooklyn provided the entrée, the stuffings, and the dessert this past Thursday in vaulting the Cardinals to their 9th straight Turkey Bowl victory, 42-10, over Mount St. Michael Academy, in the All-Champion (Hayes the AAA titlists; the Mount claiming the AA-2 hardware) affair that determined Bronx bragging rights!!
Limited to just two catches (both in the finals win over Iona Prep) for 17 yards in the postseason, whether there was added motivation or just additional opportunity, Jones should certainly be “thankful” for that next gear he found this past Thursday, as he’d burn the Mountaineers to the tune of a 5-catch (2nd highest quantity this season), 165-yard (new career-best), 1 TD morning!
Making an invaluable contribution on four of the Cardinal & Gold’s six successful possessions during the 1st half, it would actually be his first grab of the matinee that proved more beneficial, as in the blink of an eye, he turned a 3-0 deficit into a 7-3 advantage (8:09 remaining in the 1st stanza) when he was on the back end of a 30-yard, over the shoulder TD strike from junior QB, Rich Belin (9-for-15, 221 yards, 3 TD tosses), for their seventh scoring exchange of 2023!!!
Later it would be a pair of 45+-yard hauls on consecutive series (one per march) between the 1st and 2nd quarters by #8 that did not land Hayes in the end zone, but certainly made their jobs considerably easier!
Down 10-7 as the clock dipped below 5:00 remaining in 1Q, Jones beat his man down the visiting sideline and then made an adjustment mid-route to advance the ball from his own 31 to the opposing 23 as a catalyst to an eventual 8-yard TD slant to Cleveland Charlton that surged C.H. back in front, 14-10, less than 2:00 into the 2nd quarter!
On the Cardinals’ next possession, with the school buried on their own 2-yard (following a penalty that negated a 97-yard TD run), Jones darted over the middle on the second snap of quarter #2 and made a leaping snatch at midfield to spark a drive that was cultivated approximately 90 seconds later (10:14 to go in the half) when Eli Garcia (2 receptions for 21 yards) made a 10-yard diving catch at the pylon to extend the cushion to 21-10!!!
Posting bookend scoring plays, after his takedown reception accounted for the first points of the day for the Cardinals, it was fitting that Jones was the one to be to round off the damage as Belin hit him for a 2pt conversion to complement Abdoul Bah’s 15-yard pick-6 in the last 1:30 of the opening half to make the score 42-10!
Not finished yet, Jones and his Hayes brethren will now ready themselves to take another crack at the CHSAA State crown (runners-up in 2019), when they square off with Monsignor Martin titlists, St. Francus (Hamburg)!
No matter how the 2023 encore goes for Jones, he has already had himself a banner 11th grade campaign, solidifying that he will be the top target in 2024 behind a resume that reads as follows: 32 receptions (3rd on the team), 684 yards (3rd on the team), and the already cited 7 touchdowns grabs (2nd among Cardinal personnel)!
Matthew Moorehead (Sr.); QB – Fordham Prep Rams
His last day suiting up as a Ram gridiron great, a movie should be made about the 6’0, 180-pound field general hailing from the Big Apple (Moorehead)….
A true “feel good” story about a deserving young man who because of injury was forced onto the shelf and had to endure watching the majority of his senior season from the sidelines, Moorehead sure made certain that the tale had the warranted happy ending as he’d direct the Maroon & White to their third straight (sixth of the past seven meetings) triumph, 21-14, over Xavier, in the centennial edition of one of the greatest rivalries/traditions in scholastic sports!!
Hurling FIVE TOUCHDOWN PASSES in this game last year, but beaten out for MVP honors by former teammate, Charlie English (played spectacular on both sides of the ball), Moorehead may have had to wait the extra year, but the spotlight he so deserved belonged to him last Thursday as he’d connect on 17 of his 29 throws for 222 yards and a pair of touchdowns to propel Ram Nation to a comeback victory (trailed 14-10 at halftime)!!!
Capping off what proved to be the game-deciding march, it was Moorehead hooking up with fellow senior, Jake Brodick, on a 20-yard completion on the 1st snap of the 4th quarter to turn the then 14-13 deficit into a 19-14 lead. For good measure, he dumped the ball off to Jack McKillop for the successful 2pt conversion to make it a true one TD edge!!…Earlier, it was Moorehead and Brodick sustaining the drive when they teamed up for a 12-yarder on 4th & 5!!
The game-winning chuck being the second of the already recognized pair of touchdown-yielding “money” throws from the gentleman in the #8 shirt, on both occasions, it was his heroics that pulled FP into an advantageous position, as a 64-yard screen pass (facing 3rd &15) to 11th grader, Lucas Ocasio, answered a Knights’ TD moments earlier to make the score 10-7 in favor of Fordham Prep with 8:03 to go before the intermission!
His final stat line not even indicative of how well he played, it ought to be noted that Moorehead barely missed out on having a “three TD brunch” as he was locked and loaded on FP’s initial drive of the morning, hitting on multiple pass attempts, including a big gainer to Kailer Sato that if not an amazing strip by Xavier DB, Tomas Diaz, would have gone for yet another touchdown, as the fumble was induced on the Knight 1-yard line!
With 7 combined TD passes in two appearances, the “credits will roll” this spring with Moorehead exiting East Fordham Road as a legend!