November 8, 2007

Moreno's star keeps rising in Athens

Middletown South High coach Steve Antonucci remembers the first time he ever saw Knowshon Moreno.

It was August 2001, and Antonucci was given a tip by his defensive coordinator, a teacher at the local middle school, who told the coach he needed to come out and see this eighth-grade wunderkind who was running circles around the competition.

It didn't take him long to start getting excited.

"I remember he was just raving about him. He kept telling me how athletic this kid was," Antonucci said. "Even back then you could tell Knowshon was going to be special. I certainly knew right away that he was going to be a definite asset to our program."

How right he was.

By the time Moreno left his home in Belford, N.J. for the rolling hills of Northeast Georgia, he had established himself as the second leading rusher in New Jersey High school history (he's since been bumped to third) with 6,268 yards with a Middleton South record 128 touchdowns.

Georgia fans are now seeing that Antonucci first discovered seven years ago: The kid can play.

"Coming into the season, I just wanted to do whatever I could to help the team in any way possible," Moreno said. "I just wanted to give them a spark here and there."

That spark has turned into a roaring flame.

Moreno's 196-yard, three-touchdown effort against the Trojans pushed him over the 1,000-yard, becoming just the first freshman since some guy named Herschel Walker ran for 1,616 yards in 1980.

Back home in Belford, N.J., Mildred McQueen marvels at what Moreno has done.

McQueen is no ordinary fan.Hardly. McQueen is Moreno's grandmother, who raised the precocious youngster and watches with pride the accomplishments he's so far been able to achieve.

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