Moore playing for fallen soldiers

Published 1:11 pm Wednesday, March 7, 2007

By Staff
By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
GREENVILLE — Avoiding bombs has taken on a whole new meaning for Melvin Moore.
After dodging them in Iraq, the Williamston High School graduate is now trying to prevent receivers from catching bombs during spring drills with the East Carolina University football team. With everything that the 6-1, 186-pound sophomore free safety had to endure during war, getting on the football field is a breath of fresh air.
Moore graduated from Williamston in 2001. After a stint at Montgomery College in Maryland where he ran track, Moore was deployed for 18 months, including an 11-month stint in Iraq.
He returned to North Carolina in 2005.
Now that he’s back, Moore is hoping to make the most of his opportunities. Though he realizes it won’t be easy, Moore is giving it his all to make the Pirates’ football team as a walk-on.
Moore was a track standout and solid football contributor for the Williamston Tigers. He advanced to the state meet in the long jump and triple jump events his senior year.
Moore wore No. 20 on Williamston’s 2000 football team, which finished 8-3 under head coach Harold Robinson. Kevin Roach, a former wide receiver at ECU, was a junior when Moore was a senior.
Moore’s former high school coach is now the Director of High School Relations at ECU.
Moore hasn’t played a competitive football game since a 58-55 loss to Perquimans in 2000.
His burning desire to play football never left him.
In order to get ready for drills with the Pirates, Moore spent lots of time lifting weights and running on his own.
Moore made it through his first official practice with the Pirates on Wednesday at the Cliff Moore Practice Complex. For Moore, who is majoring in Major Information Security with a concentration in forensic science (think CSI), he was all smiles walking off the field with his teammates.
Moore believes he knows what it takes to make a Division I program as a walk-on.
Moore was pleased with his performance on Wednesday under the coaches’ eyes.
Moore said he’s getting some positive feedback from the ECU coaching staff.
Moore and his teammates will continue drills leading up to the Spring Game on April 14.
Moore smiles when his thoughts turn to running through the purple smoke into Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium on game days.
He said his mother, Sarah Rodgers of Williamston, will be in the stands for that first home game.
Standing on the football field, wearing a helmet of a different kind, will certainly bring some sentimentality to Moore.