Heading into its fourth game of the high school football season, North Davidson will be without its starting quarterback for the rest of the year.
Senior Landon Moore suffered a fully torn ACL in his right knee. The injury occurred during a a 30-24 loss to Oak Grove on Sept. 13 in Midway. It brought an abrupt end to Moore’s varsity career — just his second year at quarterback, after taking the Black Knights to an NCHSAA title game for the first time since 1966.
According to Moore, he received the results of his MRI on Tuesday afternoon. He was shocked. That night, Moore talked with the team after practice. Coach Brian Flynn of North Davidson said Moore won’t return at quarterback.
“It’s crazy — sad, I guess,” said Moore, who in three games passed for 827 yards and eight touchdowns. “It’s been really special with how the coaches have treated me, just all of my teammates.”
Moore’s career ended in the fourth quarter. On third down, he scrambled as defenders closed in. According to Moore, he planted his foot and felt his knee shift.
He then took a helmet to the knee before fumbling with 10:39 left in the game. Moore lay on the field about five minutes before hobbling off with help. There was an attempt to re-enter the game, though.
“I went off to the sideline and they sat me down on the table and they looked at me,” said Moore. “I was obviously wanting to go back in the game — even though I was in a little bit of pain.
“But I started running. On the sideline, I ran about 20 yards. Then the trainer told me to run 10 yards and plant. So, I ran 10 yards and planted. She told me to come back and backpedal, and when I did that I went down again.”
He didn’t return to the game, which was the Central Carolina 2-A opener for both teams. The victory for Oak Grove dropped North Davidson to 0-3, the team’s worst start to a season since 1972.
Moore was replaced by Tedric Jenkins, a junior who transferred from Lexington before the start of the 2019-20 school year.
According to Flynn, Jenkins will be the quarterback for the rest of the season.
A big piece of the Black Knights’ offense will now be missing. Moore was called up to varsity toward the end of the 2017 season — even holding the ball for Chris Dunn, now a kicker at N.C. State, when the then-senior had a 57-yard field goal against rival Ledford in the second round of the Class 2-AA playoffs on Nov. 17, 2017.
Moore then played an integral role in helping North Davidson to a championship-game appearance last year — then a junior in his first season at quarterback. He recorded 3,195 passing yards and 39 touchdowns with 10 interceptions, as the Black Knights ended their postseason run as the Class 2-AA runner-up in a 42-21 loss to Shelby on Dec. 15 at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh.
Flynn has dealt with a career-ending injury to a quarterback before. In 2011, it was Karsten Miller, who signed with Charlotte in 2012 — just before the 49ers’ first season. Miller broke his left femur in a season-opening loss to Thomasville during Flynn’s second year as the Black Knights’ offensive coordinator.
Flynn said Moore’s leadership was unique on a championship-caliber team sporting 29 seniors.
“You don’t see leaders like him anymore,” said Flynn, now in his second season as head coach at North Davidson. “He’s kind of a dying breed. He was that vocal guy that would always say the right things.
“Last year we had a lot of leadership — Maddox Johnson was a leader by example, Jackson Perrell by example — but Landon was that guy you could count on, as a coach, to be that vocal guy.”
Flynn said Moore approached him Wednesday during school and asked for a polo shirt like the ones worn by the Black Knights’ coaches.
“I’m going to basically turn into a coach, I guess,” Moore said. “Just be there for Tedric, our quarterback that’s going to be in my spot and just be there for the whole team.”
According to Moore, recovery from his ACL tear will take about nine months. Moore still has a desire to play college football, though, if he gets an opportunity. He currently has no offers.
And, in the meantime, he’s seen plenty of support in the days since his last game.
“Crazy,” Moore said. “Everybody is behind me and wants the best for me. People randomly — I don’t even know them — have been asking me how I am.”