Everyone involved in the Riverhead football program was aware of the physical talent that Ryun Moore possessed. And after last year's Class II Long Island Championship the entire Island knew as well.
Moore, expected to be the featured back and a leader on defense at linebacker for Riverhead this season, had his breakout performance under the bright lights of the LIC after getting the start on only one day's notice.
"We knew he was a talented kid and we had a lot of confidence in him coming in in that situation," head coach Leif Shay said.
Moore gained 126 yards against a stout Carey defense on that November evening and also made seven tackles out of the defensive backfield despite a lack of sleep because of nerves the night before.
This season he's going to be expected to make those same contributions every week and he's had plenty of time to rest -- though no one on the Riverhead schedule will be sleeping on the top-seeded Blue Waves.
"We know that we always have to go hard," Moore said. He also noted that his personal experience has made the entire team aware that anyone could be called upon at a given moment.
The experience last season also helped him feel more comfortable coming into camp and practices this summer.
"I feel like I'm more mature on the field and I have a wider understanding of what I'm doing," he said.
Senior Ethan Greenidge, who will line up at tackle on both sides of the ball, said that both the rushing offense and run defense will be a strength of the Blue Waves, in part because of Moore's expected contributions.
It also doesn't hurt to have a 6-6, 325-pound athlete like Greenidge anchoring the lines.
"He makes it easy for those guys to find the running lanes," Shay said of Greenidge. "I'm shocked he hasn't had any Division I offers but I'm sure after the first couple of games people will see what he can do."
Like Moore last season, it might not even take the Blue Waves that long to assert themselves amongst Long Island's elite.