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Cardinals' Moore leads Cardinals to state final
Quarterback carries fearless confidence
tony moore runs
Hoisington's quarterback Tony Moore (11) scrambles for yardage against Russell in Friday's football jamboree at Memorial Stadium. - photo by Hugo Gonzalez



HOISINGTON – Tony Moore understands why a quarterback inherits a leadership role. He operates Hoisington’s finely-tuned offense, determining the flow of the play with a lightning-quick decision.

The Cardinals (12-0) meet Seneca Nemaha Valley (12-0) in Saturday’s 2A state football championship at Salina.

Moore has passed for 1,453 yards and 19 touchdowns and rushed for 838 yards and eight scores. Fullback Teron Kraft has 1,171 yards and 13 scores. The Cardinals average 286 yards rushing and 121 yards passing.

“We have so many weapons that it’s hard to key on someone,” Moore said. “Our guys have worked hard to get where we are. We’ve stuck to our process. We’ve continued to improve during the year.”

When injuries sidelined linemen Layton Hoffman and Brayden Stevenson, the Cardinals’ next men stepped up. Left guard Exavier and left tackle Brady Reif and defensive end D.J. Bryant replaced Hoffman and Stevenson.

“These guys are completely selfless,” Moore said. “Those linemen don’t get a lot of glory. We’re grateful for them. They’ll do whatever it takes to win. They’re focused on our goal.”

Senior year has been a dream come true for Moore.

“This is the highlight of my high school athletic career,” Moore said. “After Southeast beat us last year, Coach (Zach) Baird told me my senior year would be special.

“Our offense has been flawless at times. Our offensive line has played incredible football.”

Nemaha Central quarterback Carter Hajek has rushed for 2,165 yards and 39 touchdowns and passed for 931 yards and 10 scores. Hajek accounts for 71% of the Thunder’s rushing and 76% of their offense.

“They have a spread look and don’t utilize the receivers that often,” Moore said. “They run between the tackles. They’ll send their guys downfield and run quarterback draw.”

The Thunder is the third consecutive unbeaten team for the Cardinals.

“We knew we’d see better football teams,” Moore said. “I’m proud of how we’ve handled these games.

Moore believes Hoisington’s key is running the football decently. Tackles Holden Bass and Abe Hilbert led the Thunder to eight shutouts.

“Their defensive line is big,” Moore said. “They’ve good athletes and play with a high motor.”

Moore enjoyed the fact the Cardinals avenged a 2019 semifinal playoff loss to Norton (10-8) to reach the finals.

“A lot of Hoisington guys who played Norton in 2019 were there,” Moore said. “They sang our postgame song with us. That was special. They fell short. That helped them cope a little bit.”

Four-year Hoisington starter Caiden Hoffman played in the 2020 state championship game which the Cardinals lost 27-20 to Rossville.

“They played their hearts out,” Moore said. “We learned what working together as a team was. They loved each other and played hard.”

HOISINGTON (12-0)—Hesston 39-7; Halstead 38-14; Lyons 60-0; SW Heights 63-6; Pratt 27-19; Lakin 63-15; Larned 34-6; Cimarron 67-20; Phillipsburg 46-8; Beloit 35-6; SE Saline 49-42; Norton 30-21; Nemaha Central

NEMAHA CENTRAL (12-0)—Holton 31-6; Royal Valley 62-0; Perry 26-0; Horton 69-0; Jefferson West 46-0; Minneapolis 24-0; Riley County 30-0; Sabetha 28-0; Pleasant Ridge 48-0; Riley County 55-13; Osage City 53-27; Sabetha 17-7; Hoisington

CARDINAL OFFENSE—2 WR Mason Martin; WB 4 Mason Alderdice; FB 5 Teron Kraft; WB 8 Ian Smith; QB 11 Tony Moore; 30 TE Gage Britt; 60 LG Exavier Chambers; 69 C Caleb Birzer; 72 LT Brady Reif; 76 RG Caiden Hoffman; RT Colin Mater 

CARDINAL DEFENSE—2 CB Mason Martin; 4 CB Mason Alderdice; 5 MLB Teron Kraft; 6 S Jason Robinson; 8 MLB Ian Smith; 17 S Carson Mason/11 S Tony Moore; OLB 20 Taylen Morales; OLB 30 Gage Britt; 69 DE Caleb Birzer; 72 DE C.J. Bryant; NG 76 Caiden Hoffman 

NEMAHA CENTRAL OFFENSE—3 TB Cooper Kramer; 4 WR Sam Nordhus; 6 QB Carter Hajek; 12 WR Aidan Broxterman; 20 WR Jack Macke; 21 WB Caleb Strathman; 54 C Josh Gonzalez; 56 RG Abram Heim; 66 RT Reese Garity; RG Holden Bass; 76 LT Abe Hilbert

NEMAHA CENTRAL DEFENSE—3 OLB Cooper Kramer; 4 MLB Sam Nordhus; 6 S Carter Hajek; 12 S Aidan Broxterman; 20 LE Jack Macke; 21 CB Caleb Strathman; 34 OLB Carter Sudbeck; 54 RE Josh Gonzalez; 56 MLB Abram Heim; 75 LT Holden Bass; 76 RT Abe Hilbert