Maybe everyone has been wrong about Mike Moore all along.
Could it be that the Thousand Oaks High fullback, one of the best at sloshing through ankle-deep muck, isn't that keen on mud after all?
After rushing for big yardage in wet and wild games against Channel Islands and Antelope Valley, Mudder Mike was dubbed the reigning rain king.
It all began with an 88-yard performance in terrible conditions against Channel Islands. Five weeks later, Moore rumbled for 77 yards against Antelope Valley in the Coastal Conference semifinals in a driving rainstorm. Both yardage totals were team highs.
One couldn't blame the Lancers had they pleaded for rain before their rematch with Channel Islands in the Coastal Conference final last week, but the skies remained clear.
Moore responded with his best game of the season--143 yards and a touchdown in 20 carries.
Backfield mate Marc Monestime and John Johnson of Channel Islands, two of the best backs in the Marmonte League, combined for 138 yards.
Thousand Oaks won the conference title, 27-12, and Moore won a little more respect.
"I had to prove that I could play on a dry field, and that our team could play on a dry field," said Moore, a senior. "Channel Islands complained the last time that the field was muddy. We wanted to show them it didn't matter."
Maybe it was the mud that slowed him all along. Who knows what the 6-foot, 195-pound Moore would have done against Channel Islands and Antelope Valley had the conditions been adequate?
In the championship game, Moore ran 51 yards on a third-and-10 play from the Lancers' two-yard line with five minutes remaining. Thousand Oaks led, 27-12, but Channel Islands was building momentum, having just scored on a long pass. Another score would have cut the deficit to seven.
"What I was really thinking was to get the ball out of the hole we were in," Moore said of his longest run of the season. "If I didn't, they would have had good field position."
The run put the finishing touch on Moore's two-year varsity career. He gained 1,558 yards and 14 touchdowns in 295 carries for a 5.3 average.
"It was just something in me," he said. "It was the last game of my high school career and I wanted to show everyone I could play."
Even on a dry field.