Finding enough able-bodied varsity football players is usually an issue at Class 1A programs like Ashton-Franklin Center, but that became a little less of an issue when Dylan Moore arrived on the scene.
Moore is a transfer student from Sycamore, and figures to be plugged in as a starting fullback and linebacker for the Raiders as they prepare for their season opener on Aug. 24 against River Ridge.
“I think he’s fitting in pretty well,” AFC coach Brad Winterland said. “He’s a tough, hard-nosed kid, which fits what we’re trying to do within our system. Coming from a big school to a small school, that’s a change of pace for him, I’m sure, but I think he’s adjusting well to the guys and to the system.”
The 5-foot-10, 180-pound Moore was a starting linebacker and backup tight end for the Sycamore fresh-soph team last season as a sophomore. He lived in Sycamore with his father, Ryan.
When Dylan’s mother, Jasey, moved from Rochelle to Franklin Grove in April, Dylan made the move to live with his mother by the end of May.
“I like it a lot better,” Moore said. “The people are nicer.”
Moore’s main activity over the summer was to lift weights with his future AFC Raider teammates each Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday afternoon for a couple of hours. It was part pumping iron, part bonding with new friends and teammates.
Sawyer Murphy, a senior two-way starter for AFC, was particularly welcoming, Moore noted.
“I was nervous at first coming in, but not as nervous as I would be starting practice and not knowing anybody,” Moore said.
Lining up at linebacker will be nothing new for Moore, but he’s especially fired up about playing fullback at AFC. His time with the offense at Sycamore was limited. As an 8th grader in Rochelle, he played some halfback, but was a second-teamer and rarely carried the ball.
“I’m excited,” Moore said. “Fullback has always been a position I’ve wanted to play, so I’m ready for that. Now I get to run the ball, I get to show my speed and have a bigger role on offense.”
Moore downplays going from a large school like Sycamore, with a 2018 football enrollment of 1,221, to a small school like AFC, with a football enrollment of 163.
“I don’t think it’s going to be that different,” Moore said. “There’s smaller amount of players on the team, but really, it’s still football.”