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Moore twins have history at Bassfield

12:00 AM, Nov. 29, 2012 EST

Bassfield twins A.J., left, and C.J. Moore have been imposing figures for the Yellowjackets this season. / Bryant Hawkins/Hattiesburg American

Bassfield twins A.J. and C.J. Moore were on the sidelines the last time the Yellowjackets played in a state championship game, which was in 2009.

The juniors had the football in their hands a lot that day, when the Yellowjackets defeated Ackerman to win the Class 2A title.

The linebacker and quarterback respectively were even outfitted with championship rings for their efforts.

But neither one suited up for the Yellowjackets, nor actually played in the game. However, they were instrumental in the game's proceedings.

The Moore twins served as ball boys for Bassfield in 2009, when the pair were eighth-graders.

"It's always been motivating us to get back there," C.J. said. "As a (ball boy), you're a part of it, but you're really not. You want (a ring) as a player. That's a big thing for me."

Bassfield head coach Lance Mancuso said he remembers the twins' reaction to the state title win in 2009 well.

"They said, 'Coach, we're gonna get one of these one day, and we're gonna be here,'" he said. "It's amazing to think where these kids have come from and where they are now."

Where they are now is head-and-shoulders above much of the juniors in the state.

A.J. is the team's leading tackler with 103 this season, to go along with four sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery from his linebacker position.

C.J. serves as essentially the team's co-quarterback, as he and Jomez Applewhite alternate at the position every quarter. C.J. has thrown for just under 600 yards with seven touchdowns and one interception for a quarterback rating of 145. He's also carried the ball 18 times for 74 yards and scored four rushing touchdowns.

And for Mancuso, having young men like A.J. and C.J. around early on is vital to the success of the program.

"We try to get as many kids involved as we can," he said. "We talk with the teachers, and obviously the kids who don't have any discipline referrals and are able to maintain their grades are the ones we allow to come out and be ball boys.

"It's that part that begins to mold those kids for what they're going to see in high school. The closer we can keep the kids to the program, the better off we feel like we'll be in the future."

So far, so good.

The Moores are as close to invaluable as anyone on the Yellowjacket squad.

"Our main goal was to get a shutout every Friday," A.J. said. "So that's what we go out and try to do. If it doesn't happen, we'll look forward to next week.

"We just practice real hard on defense. We put the best on the best in practice to make us better."

Oftentimes, A.J. and C.J. find themselves lined up opposite one another in practice, matched up in a mental and physical chess game. A.J. said it's common for he and his brother to sometimes think and feel the same things.

"It happens a lot," A.J. said. "We come back after every game and talk about it. At first, it freaked us out, thinking the same thing. But now it's kind of normal."




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