The play that won Mount Union (Ohio) College's fifth Division
III national championship in six years was quintessential Chuck
Moore. On a simple guard trap in the third quarter, the Purple
Raiders' senior tailback followed the block of left guard Brent
Miller, burst through the middle of the line and ran unimpeded
past the Bridgewater (Va.) College defense for 95 yards, the
longest touchdown in Division III playoff history. The score,
Moore's third of the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl in Salem, Va., gave
the Purple Raiders a 30-13 cushion, and they needed nearly all
of it in their 30-27 victory. Moore, playing his final
collegiate game, rushed for 273 yards on 34 carries and won his
second consecutive most outstanding player award in the national
championship game. In four postseason games this year he rushed
for 998 yards and scored 12 touchdowns, both Division III
Against Bridgewater, Moore also scored on a draw of 36 yards
behind a Miller block in the second quarter. The two touchdowns
were straightforward and unadorned, just like Moore, a 6-foot,
207-pound Chip Hilton for the 21st century. He has 4.5 speed and
rushed for 2,349 yards and 36 touchdowns in 14 games this year.
He's a two-time Academic All-America, played centerfield on the
Mount Union baseball team and still says "jeez" in conversation.
"I realize that what he's meant to our program is almost
indescribable," said Mount Union coach Larry Kehres after the
At Mogadore (Ohio) High five years ago, Moore attracted
scholarship offers from Akron and Kent, but then he tore his
right ACL in a state semifinal playoff. "Some people say that the
knee injury scared off Division I schools," Moore said last week.
"I tell you what. The four years I've had at Mount have been
tremendous. I would not change the way things turned out for
The Purple Raiders went 54-1 during Moore's four seasons of
eligibility. Thanks to Kehres, whose teams are fundamentally
sound and disciplined, they also won all 28 games in the two
seasons before Moore suited up. "Notre Dame ought to take a look
at Kehres," legendary St. John's (Minn.) coach John Gagliardi
said after Mount Union cruised past his team, 35-14, in the
playoff semifinals. "It would solve a lot of problems, theirs and
ours. How do you win 81 out of 82 games? Nobody does that, not
even Bud Wilkinson, who I thought was the greatest of them all."
Now Mount Union has won 82 of its last 83 games, though
Bridgewater made the final victory difficult. The Eagles'
northern Virginia campus may be only 100 miles north of Salem,
but measured in football miles the team's journey to the Stagg
Bowl could have circled the globe. Before coach Mike Clark was
hired in 1995, Bridgewater had won 94 games in 70 seasons. "When
I came here," Clark says, "I asked, 'Where are the headsets?'
They had none, because they never hired enough coaches to put
someone in the press box."
Clark doubled the number of full- and part-time assistants to six
and got his headsets. The Eagles went 0-9-1 in his first season,
2-8 in his second, 5-5 in his third and winless in his fourth.
"The president, Dr. [Phillip] Stone, called me in and said, 'I'm
going to hang with you, but this needs to change,'" Clark says.
The Eagles' speed presented problems for Mount Union from the
first play, when quarterback Jason Lutz completed a 67-yard
touchdown pass to Marcus Richardson. "It's an honor even to play
Mount Union in the championship game," Bridgewater tailback Davon
Cruz, who joined Moore in the Division III All-America backfield,
said before the game. "At the same time it's like any other team,
with flaws and weaknesses."
Although Lutz threw three touchdown passes and ran for a fourth,
he could have used a healthy Cruz, who took a shot to his rib
cage in the first half and rushed only four times, for eight
yards, after halftime. He finished with 71 yards in 18 carries.
Moore, on the other hand, had run for 95 yards by halftime. He
hopes to be invited to an all-star game to attract attention from
NFL scouts. If that opportunity at a career in pro football
doesn't materialize, Moore will begin working at Capital
Securities of America in Hartville, Ohio, in January. Though he
didn't graduate until this semester, Moore earned his license to
sell stocks last summer. Finally, a stockbroker who had a good
COLOR PHOTO: SCOTT K. BROWN
"What he's meant to our program is almost indescribable," Coach
Kehres says of Moore.