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SCCS football: Asking for Moore

With a year under his belt, Cayman Islands native has more responsibilities for SCCS

Posted: August 26, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: August 26, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Santa Clarita Christian senior Tikko Moore didn’t know much about American football when he first moved to the United States from the Cayman Islands. After playing on the team last year, he’s ready to fill multiple positions for the Cardinals and has become accustomed to his new environment.

 

Ask Tikko Moore what his experience with football is and he replies with a question.

“You mean American football, right?,” he asks.

Moore, a 6-foot-4-inch, 230-pound senior moved to Santa Clarita last year from the Cayman Islands, where he focused his athletic pursuits on basketball and soccer.

In fact, the closest thing Moore knew to football was rugby.

That’s why he was surprised when he was asked to suit up for the Cardinals “football” team.

But if you know anything about Tikko Moore, you know he’s always up for a challenge.

And that’s how Moore came to be on the Cardinals football team.

Soon after, he became the team’s kicker, and this season, he’s ready to take on a more expanded role. This year, Moore will line up on the defensive line and play wide receiver in addition to his kicking duties.

Moore has no problem shouldering those responsibilities. When he first joined the team, it was hard for him to find a permanent spot.

“When I got here, they signed me up for football,” Moore says. “I came out here and I tried out nearly every position.”

He’d spend Sundays watching NFL teams, asking questions of his host brother Luke Dillon and host father Kevin Dillon.
He’d watch others in practice, trying to learn the intricacies of the game.

And then at a Friday practice, in half-pads, Moore was having fun with some teammates when he decided to take a hack at kicking a ball that had been left up on a tee.

And boy, did that ball fly.

“I was blown away,” says quarterback Connor Harvey. “Before Tikko, we were not getting the ball into the end zone (on kickoffs) and Tikko kicked it all the way across the field. I was excited instantly.”

That’s how Moore became the biggest kid to line up at the kicker position in the Heritage League last season.

Kicking may have come easy, but the rest of the game took some time.

After getting a season of football under his belt, Moore has had a full summer of workouts and SCCS head coach Garrick Moss is excited to see what he’s got.

Moore also had to adjust to changes off the field, however. Despite having spent four months with relatives in Philadelphia, moving to Santa Clarita to attend SCCS meant change on a much greater scale.

Moore has been adapting well to living so far from home, but he admits it can be difficult at times.

“Honestly, it’s a real change, really different being so far from home,” Moore says. “You aren’t doing the same things you used to, but as time goes on you change and adapt to where you’re at.”

He says he tries to talk to his mother, who still lives in the Cayman Islands, at least once or twice a week and credits her with preparing him to deal with the situation he’s in.

“Me and my mom are real close,” Moore says. “My mom back home set me up to deal with stuff like this. I was kind of doing a lot of stuff on my own. All that she did really helped me. When I came over here, it was easier.”

In addition to his mother, his host family helped him adapt to American life.

“They helped me in any and every way possible. They do whatever they can no matter how difficult or hard it is,” Moore says. “They’re like a second family.”

And that feeling is mutual.

“He just kind of blended so well in our family,” says Elena Dillon, Moore’s host mother. “It was like he’s always been here.”

It didn’t take long for the charismatic Moore to adjust to his teammates.

“I met (senior Chris Fechtelkotter) the first day and he thought I was 20 when he first saw me,” Moore says. “He thought I was older than what I was and (my teammates) were all kind of scared of me until we started talking.

“Now, we’re really good friends. We hang out all the time.”

With football becoming less and less of an unknown, Moore is hoping to take on a more influential role with the Cardinals this season.

“I know the game better now,” he says. “I know what I need to do, like how to tackle.”

More importantly, though, Moore has learned how to catch.

And that’s something that excites Harvey and Fechtelkotter.

“I love having big targets out there,” Harvey says. “It’s nice to have that big target. It will be nice to have him on the opposite side of the ball (from Fechtelkotter).”

Moss, though, thinks Moore’s true calling could come at defensive end.

“Defensive line we feel he can just be an animal,” Moss says. “But he also likes playing outside more in space. He’s more comfortable in space. That’s his desire, but we’re like, ‘Do you realize what you can do on the defensive line? You could get a scholarship somewhere because of your size alone.’”

What comes after high school may still be unknown for Moore, but so far, Moore has embraced football and is starting to excel at the game which was once such a mystery to him.

“He’s come leaps and bounds,” Harvey says. “When he first got here he didn’t even want to play football. He’s really acquired a love for the game. He’s improved dramatically.”

For Moore, the journey is just beginning.

“He’s far from reached his peak, his top ability,” Moss says. “I don’t even think he’s scratched the surface. If he wants to be a college football player, he could go to a COC ... Physically, he’s got the size. Now it just comes down to gaining the experience, the knowledge, you’ve got to want it.”

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