August 27, 2013 12:08:57 PM
Scott Walters - email@example.com
FULTON -- Former Columbus High School football player Dalon Moore was a late addition to the Itawamba Community College signing class.
Even though Moore wasn't one of the early ones to come on board, ICC coach Jon Williams is happy to have him.
"Dalon has excellent arms and excellent speed," Williams said. "We play a fast-paced game where you never have enough receivers. To be able to convince someone of Dalon's stature to come into our program is a big deal. We need playmakers at our receiver spots, and he will be one of those."
The plays could be made as early as at 7 p.m. Thursday when ICC plays host to East Central C.C. at Eaton Field. A local broadcast will be available on WAFM-FM 95.7 and also available on-line at www.letsgoicc.com.
"I think this team has really jelled both on and off the field," Moore said. "We really have some good team chemistry going. That is why we are going to be able to win some games and surprise some people."
The Indians begin the season ranked 16th in the NJCAA Top 20. ICC is vying for its first North Division championship since 2007. A year ago, ICC won its first three, lost its middle three and then won its final three to finish 6-3.
"We are excited about the season because of the players we have," Moore said. "We should be able to get the ball around to a lot of playmakers. We should be able to run the ball real good. The offensive line is great. We have a couple of quarterbacks who are great at making decisions and throwing smart passes."
Sophomore Griff Loftis is back after starting the final seven games of last season. He is backed up by freshman Andrew Goodman, who won his first two starts before being sidelined by a season-ending injury. Goodman received a medial redshirt and has two seasons of eligibility remaining.
Meanwhile, the receiving corps is young. With the up-tempo style of offense as many as seven or eight receivers could receive consistent work on a given night.
"At quarterback, we have two really good players," Moore said. "Both quarterbacks have experience and both quarterbacks have been leaders. I think you are going to see us use a two-quarterback system a lot. Each brings different things to the table. We give the defense a lot to prepare for."
"The main thing I have learned during summer and fall practice is that the speed of the game is unreal. The play calls are more difficult. You have to really be on you're 'A' game more in college. I feel like I am learning and getting better each day at those things."
ICC opened the season a year ago with a 35-13 victory against East Central. Injuries -- including the one to Goodman -- slowed the Indians' progress as they eventually tied for second place in the division race but failed to make the postseason.
This year, Williams has about a 60-percent sophomore-based roster. The challenge for the young players is to combine past experiences at various strong high school programs with the knowledge they need to do things at a higher level.
Last season, Columbus advanced to the playoffs for the first time since 2006. Moore played a big role in that success, catching 26 passes for 307 yards on a run-heavy ballclub.
"What I learned from high school experience is to never give up," Moore said. "In high school and in college, it is always a building process. You can't ever give up. You have to keep grinding and keep working. That is what we do in practice every day here. We work real hard to make one another better.
"In high school to be a part of a tradition is winning is huge. We all have had success in our past. Now it is a matter of bringing all of that success here and making this team better this year."
Follow Dispatch sports reporter Scott Walters on Twitter at @dispatchscott.
Scott is sports copy editor and reporter