He can finally feel his fingers, toes and other extremities. But the general sensation for Michael Moore these days?
The Del Oro High School senior quarterback was the man of the hour late Friday, shaking off a frustrating first half in bone-chilling rain and wind so fierce it hurled a pop-up tent onto an ambulance, cracking its windshield, and forced the grounds crew at Sacramento State to take down the American flag, fearing it would tear away from its pole.
Moore heated up enough to lead the Golden Eagles to an improbable 20-19 comeback victory over Elk Grove in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II championship gameat Hornet Stadium.
“Craziest game and weather,” Moore said.
Moore passed for 13 yards in the first half, was intercepted and was crunched twice on sacks, slowly rising to his feet. He stood firm down the stretch, throwing two fourth-quarter touchdown passes to Tre Udoffia, and the winner to Dylan Kainrath with a little more than a minute to play to erase what had been 19-0 deficit.
Moore finished with 160 passing yards and had at least that many high fives Monday at school.
“We were all amazed after the game,” Moore said Monday. “We’re thinking, ‘Wow, 20-19? We did it.’ There was a moment where the coaches took us aside and said, ‘This is it, Mike,’ and I had it in my head that it was score or go home. We scored.”
And so the season continues. Del Oro (12-2) will put its 11-game winning streak on the line against Serra of San Mateo (11-2) at San Jose City College in the Northern California Regional Division I title game. The winner advances to a CIF State Bowl game.
For a team designed to run the ball, Moore has been the Golden Eagles’ X-factor. He threw five touchdown passes in a section semifinal win over Yuba City, which played its secondary close to the line of scrimmage to slow the run, and his poise and determination allowed Del Oro to rally against Elk Grove.
For the season, Moore has passed for 2,217 yards and 27 touchdowns with seven interceptions.
In those final drives against Elk Grove, Del Oro rotated in three footballs, anything that felt a little more dry than the other, and it looked to Moore to find a way.
“Moore did a great job, and we believed in him,” Del Oro coach Casey Taylor said. “Amazing performance.”
Elk Grove coach Chris Nixon agreed.
“Moore did a great job making plays,” Nixon said. “I like the way he competes. Fearless.”
The 6-foot-3, 185-pound Moore said he was moved by the support of his teammates. He missed badly on some first-half throws, overthrew a pass that should have resulted in a touchdown in the fourth quarter, yet still kept with it.
“After my second interception, in the third quarter, I was kicking myself I was so mad at myself,” Moore said. “(Teammate) Shane Peterson comes up, grabs me by the shoulder pads and says, ‘You can do it, Mike. We believe in you.’ That helped a lot. We just wanted to make a game of it, to not get shut out, and then we got the momentum.”
Moore joked that his effort was the most football fun his family experienced since 1982. Four of his uncles had end-zone seats for “The Catch” game in which the 49ers beat the Cowboys in the NFC Championship Game at Candlestick Park.
Moore wants to create more memories but also realizes he may be playing his final games. Despite a 4.4 grade-point average, good size and skills, Moore is not generating recruiting interest outside an occasional letter from Division III programs. He plans to study business finance or engineering in college.
“Looking back at all the years I’ve played, it’s been so much fun,” Moore said. “It’s sad to see that it might come to an end, but if it is, I couldn’t have asked for a better senior season. I’ll always think, ‘Wow.’”
CIF NORCAL REGIONAL GAMES
• Saturday, 7:30 p.m. • At Diablo Valley College
• Friday, 7:30 p.m. • At San Jose City College
ON PAGE C6
• Boys basketball rankings and notes