Two and a half decades after claiming forever glory for an entire community on the field inside the Astrodome in Houston, Lamont Moore can still find one word that perfectly sums up the experience: Pandaemonium.
No, not in the sense of a riot in the streets or a field littered with thousands of unruly fans yanking down the goal post, mostly because the close to 12,000 Waxahachie supporters in attendance for the 1992 4A state championship win against A&M Consolidated were confined to the bleachers. But because Moore, to this day, doesn’t recall if he shook the Tigers’ hands after the 28-24 come-from-behind win or not.
“When I think about it I think about how unique it is," Moore said. "It's been 25 years and Waxahachie hasn't won another one. That right there tells you how unique it is and how hard it is to win one. It also tells you how special that year was.”
Moore is quick to point out how many athletes the Tribe had at key positions that season. In 1992, the Indians boasted talents like Joe Garber on the offensive and defensive line, future NFL defensive lineman Montae Reagor at tightened, future MLB draft pick Corey Pointer at safety and backup quarterback, and, of course, running backs Sammie Overton and Lejon Jefferson.
Most of those same Indians played integral roles in the 1990 and 1991 4A quarterfinal teams, too, which helped supply a plethora of leadership and experience to their already obvious talent.
In their pursuit of the perfect 16-0 season (and eventually 30 consecutive wins), the Indians relied on the state's top-ranked defense in terms of yards and points allowed, as well as a veer attack on offense. Some claim Moore and the Indians ran the most dominant veer offense of all-time, at least that's what a quick Google search will reveal. Waxahachie gained a staggering 6,764 yards of offense in 1992.
“That year, it just all came together,” Moore recalled. “[...] Just a combination of guys coming together and hitting on all cylinders at one time was just so special. One thing about the veer that makes it really click is that you have to have a quarterback who can read the defense because every play is a read. It's funny because everyone now runs the zone-read which is an option-veer-run, only out of the gun. That's all it is.”
The game plan might sound barbaric to modern-day offensive coordinators and their spread offenses, but in 1992, the Indians, all of them, bought in and worked the scheme to perfection.
“The veer is something you have to be all in on, or it's not going to work. If it's 3rd and 13, you are not throwing it. That's just the way it is. You are going to run the veer and expect to pick up the first down,” Moore said. “We just trusted the coaches, and we trusted each other, and we loved being around one another.”
He added, “I was fortunate enough to run the offense for three years, so I kind of knew the offense like the back of my hand. But then having a guy like Sammie who would always be there when I was ready to pitch it and knowing that he was going to be there, and trusting him, I mean I didn't even have to look sometimes I would just pitch it. Coach Phillips was also the lineman coach and he was hard on those guys. He made those guys have a bond like no other. He stayed on them. All of that just made us so special.”
‘THE’ HIGHLAND PARK GAME
The casual fan has probably forgotten the Indians 70-6 domination of Lubbock-Estacado in the 1992 4A state semifinal game. After all, most of the starters took an early exit a little after halftime.
However, the quarterfinal bout between Waxahachie and Highland Park is one that still lives on to this day.
It was the day “trash” beat “cash,” 10-9.
Moore recalled watching the Scots on film and not thinking much of the looming showdown. The Indians had never played Highland Park and “didn’t really know what to expect,” he said.
“Going into the game, we felt very confident that we could handle them very well. Then we got to the game, and that big sign is hanging out there that says ‘Cash versus Trash.’ I was like, ‘ Whoa. OK.’”
“That created a little animosity and as bad as you wanted to beat them, I think it just got a little too emotional for us. As a coach now, I tell kids that emotion doesn't win ball games, ever. You have to execute and play games the right way. You can be as mad or as hype as you want to be but that's not going to win the ball game. I think some of that played a part in that game as to why it was so close.”
Moore recalled the Indians committing several uncharacteristic personal fouls and turning the football over, which was certainly not the norm for a team coach by Scott Phillips.
“During the game, they were still saying stuff to you, so I think a lot of guys let it get in their head a little bit and were trying to do too much extra. The game was just so tight we were fortunate that we had the number one defense in the state,” Moore explained.
“[...] As special as our offense was, our defense — man. A shutout was their goal, that was coach Brooks' his goal. He wanted to shut out every team we played, and if we didn't, he was mad. Even that Lubbock game, he was mad.”
Moore remembers the Indian offense being able to move the ball throughout the championship game but it was an adjustment midway through the second quarter that eventually helped break the rushing attack free.
Waxahachie typically ran the football away from the boundary toward the big side of the field. It was quickly apparent A&M Consolidated had picked up on that, as they began to overload the box to that side. Moore said they began to run the tight end-wing formation toward the boundary, the short side of the field, to force the defense out of position.
“I think, at first, we were trying to break a big play, but we just started chipping away and grinding like our offense does," Moore said. "We realized we probably weren't going to have a bunch of big plays and I think we started to do that and started to run to the left and to the boundary a little bit more and that was when I realized they really didn’t have anything for us.”
The big play did come, though, and it came in the shape of a 47-yard touchdown run to give the Indians their first lead, 14-10, with a little over seven minutes to play in the third quarter. Moore recalled looking into the eyes of a few defenders after his long scamper and seeing doubt.
“That is when you know you got a team,” he said.
Consolidated later retook the lead 24-20 before Jefferson capped a lengthy drive with a two-yard run late in the fourth quarter. Coach Phillips then took his first of two late-game gambles when Moore carried the two-point conversion into the end zone on 18-veer — a play that he said worked all season long — for a 28-24 lead.
“It had been money all year and I just ran in untouched,” he said.
The second gamble came a with about 30 seconds to play.
“We knew that if we got a first down that they wouldn't have enough time even if we punted. We were driving, and I can't remember if it was first or second down, but I fumbled the ball from under center, so we are already behind the sticks,” said Moore of the final Waxahachie drive. “[...] We handed off and got a good gain. We handed off again and got another good gain, but then it's like 4th and 3 or something like that. That’s when I heard coach yell, ‘punt.’”
Most fans in attendance probably then remember the Indians taking a timeout, which is true — because neither punter could be found.
Yep, Vincent Terry and Corey Pointer wandering the sideline catching their breath can be credited, at least a little, with Waxahachie choosing to go for the first down in the 1992 4A state championship with 30 seconds to play and facing a fourth-and-three.
As the coaching staff mulled the decision, Moore said Phillips asked if he was confident in converting the first down.
“Plain as day, I told him, ‘I got this, coach. Put the ball in my hands, I got it,’” Moore recalled.
“So it’s fourth and whatever and this is for the marbles. We lined up in our tight end-wing, and I don’t know what they were thinking, I guess maybe they thought because we had been killing them left that we were going to go left, but they left a huge gap between the guard and tackle.”
“[...] I get to the line and look, and I’m like, ‘I’m not handing this ball off,’” said Moore with a laugh. “I was like, I’m fixing to get it and run right there like a quarterback sneak. The line just...and I just darted through there, got five [yards] and went to the ground for the first down and that ended it right there.”
One more handoff and a kneel from the victory formation ran the clock to zeros.
“We did it. Wow. They had put up ‘1992 state champs’ on the scoreboard, and so many thoughts start going through your head,” Moore recalled. “You start thinking about when you started and the hard work in two-a-days, talking about it, each game, getting to this point, the obstacles you overcame, just being able to get through all of that and thinking about your buddies and how happy you all are.
“When the clock hit zero it was pandemonium. People went crazy. I don’t think we even went and shook the other team’s hand. I know I didn’t. My mind just wasn’t there. My mind was in celebration mode with my teammates. The only reason I think about that is that I’ve seen pictures with the coach coming on the field. It wasn’t trying to be disrespectful, it was just crazy. Coaches crying. Players crying. Just tears of joy.”
Moore finished the game as the Indians’ third-leading rusher with 103 yards but added three touchdowns and a two-point conversion run. Senior running back Sammie Overton added 167 yards and junior Lejon Jefferson had 109.
Moore went on the play quarterback for three years at Baylor University before moving to receiver for his senior year. He then played 10 years in the arena football league.
Though Moore never thought he’d become a coach, the itch to positively influence young athletes won out.
After a short stint coaching at a private school, Moore returned to Waxahachie three years ago to coach the Indians, where he serves as the wide receivers and track coach, as well as the recruitment coordinator.
"As soon as I got back here, I knew it was exactly where I was supposed to be," Moore said. "[...] I can instill in these kids what I learned from the game. It was perfect timing, and it is a perfect fit."
Don't worry pass-happy fans, he has no plans of bringing the veer back. It can stay in 1992 with the greatest football team in Waxahachie High School’s history.