Mississippi's Holmes Community College has always fielded a notably ordinary junior college football team. The Goodman-based school is off to a rough, 0-3 start to 2010, and has a roster that fails to stand out in any notable way -- except one. Buried on that roster is a reserve kicker named Allen Moore, listed as a sophomore from Taylorsville, Miss. Moore has yet to kick in a game in this, his first season at Holmes, but at 60 years old, Moore is already setting records just by being on the roster.
According to an article and video interview from Mississippi's FOX40 News, Moore is returning to competitive football after being away 42 years, and will become the oldest football player in National Junior College Athletic Association history as soon as he steps on the field during a game. Moore is also likely to finish as the second-oldest athlete in NJCAA history, behind 73-year-old Ken Mink, who played in seven basketball games at Roane State (Tenn.) Community College in 2009, becoming the oldest person to score a field goal in a college basketball game in the process. The Holmes kicker is also likely to finish as the second-oldest man to play in a college football game, behind 61-year-old Tom Thompson, who made an extra-point kicking cameo for Austin (Texas) College last fall.
Moore played for Jones County Junior College as a freshman in 1968, then enlisted in the army and was sent to Vietnam. A year later Moore returned, but he decided to begin working in construction rather than resume his football career.
Now, four decades and a long career as a construction worker and site superintendent later, Moore is back trying to kick field goals and extra points for the Bulldogs, living in his camper at nearby Holmes County State Park and taking classes with the rest of Holmes Community College's students.
In fact, Moore's experience in the classroom may have been the most jarring aspect of his return to college and football. At one point one of his teachers asked the entire class to imagine where they would be in five years. Moore's answer was a bit of an eye-opener to his classmates.
"Well my question to her was do I answer it as an 18-year-old kid or as a 60-year-old, she said to answer it as a 60-year-old," Moore told FOX40 News. "I said in five years I would be drawing my Social Security and watching my grandkids play sports."
Moore's landing spot at Holmes was a fortuitous one. After trying in the spring to make the Jones County team for 2010 -- Moore claims the school was unresponsive to his tryout attempt -- he travelled around the state kicking at different football fields. Eventually, he was seen at Mississippi Valley State by a woman named Linda Bourgeois, who happens to be the aunt of Holmes football coach Danny Robertson.
The rest, as they say, is history.
"It [piqued] my curiosity so I set up a time for him to come kick for me," Robertson told FOX40 News. "He did a good job. I told him we only had one kicker coming back, and if he wanted to earn a spot with us, we would welcome him to two-a-days. He showed up here and things have worked out for him."
He came back for those workouts, made the team, and now sits behind Holmes' starting kicker Jonathan Smith, who overcame initial shock at teaming with a 60-year-old to pull for his teammate, as he told FOX40.
"I think it's really good," Smith said. "I've never heard anything like it, but I'm glad he wants to finish out his collegiate career." [...]
"It's certainly a lot less tense, and things are more enjoyable. The first day I saw him hit a 40-yarder. He really has to be in shape to do as many reps as we do.
"He really gets along well with all the players," he added. "He knows we are different, and he understands that he can influence them and get them to not give up on their dreams."
When Moore gets his chance, Smith says he'll be cheering him on. "I'd be supporting him 100 percent," he said.
After Moore has had his chance and the season ends, he'll head back to Homestead, Fla., to reunite with his wife, Janice, and grandkids. He hopes that by then he'll have left at least some of his former teammates with a lasting memory.
"I hope I can impress one kid," he added, "get them to take one step further, accomplish something. It's never been a ‘me' thing. It's a ‘we' thing."
Moore said he's living his dream. "I can honestly tell them that I am dreaming a dream. Some dreams are not meant to be, and some storms we cannot weather. But if you believe in God and believe in yourself, dreams will come true and storms will be weathered. If you don't believe in yourself, it'll never happen. Without God and others, I wouldn't be here today."