CENTRAL SQUARE — Jake Moran enjoys filling the role of hype man for his Central Square football teammates, much like his twin sister helps to pump up the crowd at pep rallies and pregame ceremonies.
Moran — a junior running back and linebacker who emerged to average 11.7 yards per carry across the Redhawks’ final five games last year — was described by second-year coach Kevin Kalfass and returning teammates with words such as full-go, enthusiastic, aggressive, and energetic.
Moran will aim to keep spirits high when he helps lead Central Square into its season opener against Fulton at 7 p.m. Friday at Paul V. Moore High School Stadium.
“I’m trying to bring that excitement and that enthusiasm,” Moran said. “I want to be that guy on the field that is hyping everybody up, making a big play or just yelling. I yell all the time. We’re up here at 7:30 in the morning running sprints and I’m yelling, hooting and hollering.”
Moran’s twin sister, Jenna, is a member of the Central Square varsity color guard and also plays saxophone for the school band.
“When we have pep rallies she does the color guard, so she can spin the rifles and handle the flags and do all of that, and she also plays saxophone for the band,” Jake Moran said. “I have to give it to her, she has a lot more talent for those things than I would.”
Jake Moran also proved to be a gifted performer when given the opportunity to play on offense near the midway point of last season for the Redhawks, who finished 2-6 overall.
He began his sophomore season as a starting outside linebacker and third-string fullback, but Kalfass said he and the coaching staff opted to utilize him as a rusher once he showed he was acclimated to the physicality of varsity football.
Moran rushed one time for a single yard across the first three games, and over the last five, turned 41 carries into 492 yards. Moran scored all five of his rushing touchdowns in Central Square’s final two regular-season games, each resulting in victories to help his team climb back from its 0-5 start to reach the Section 3 Class A playoffs.
“He’s very talented,” Kalfass said. “He has great feet, and that’s been his biggest attribute, his ability to cut. He can read the defender and cut in or out, and he can finish runs. We expect a lot out of him, he’ll be our primary ball carrier and he can catch the ball as an all-around athlete.”
Moran credited his 2018 midseason breakout to his offensive line, most of whom graduated last June, and the install of a heavy package that included a counter run play, calling his number.
“I have to give it to my linemen because we had a very good line last year, and we’ll have a lot of young guys working hard there this season,” Moran said. “Without them, it doesn’t go anywhere. ... But as far as out in the open field, I know my game fits a running back. I like hitting the hole hard and breaking it out, there’s just no better feeling for me.”
Moran’s on-field emergence has emboldened the junior to share his infectious energy with teammates, and his voice has been heard more frequently throughout preseason camp.
“He’s never in a bad mood,” said classmate and first-year starting quarterback, Brady Godici. “He’s always so ecstatic and he’s definitely pushing all these other guys. We all look up to him because he’s a really good guy and we know he’s always trying his best.”
Kalfass added: “No one works harder than Jake. He’s always running in the sprints, I don’t have to tell him to run or to finish through the lines. He’s always doing the extra. ... I never have to say that I need more out of Jake. I get all he’s got every day.”
Moran will also start at linebacker and is expected to be heavily involved on special teams for the Redhawks, who also return versatile two-way seniors Cruz Springer and Alex Wurster in leadership roles.
Moran, the son of Bob and Mindy, is also a standout lacrosse player and spent much of his summer playing for the Orange Crush club team based in Syracuse. The midfielder was a member of the Under Armour Upstate Command Team the previous summer, which consisted of rising freshmen and sophomores, and plans to keep pursuing a college lacrosse scholarship.