FINDLAY - Ever since Isiah Moore played his last down for the Columbian football team, the former Tornado lineman has collected a host of accolades. All-league district and state honors, as well as numerous all-star game selections.
But of all the honors, Moore said the final one was the best.
Saturday at Donnell Stadium, Moore took part in the inaugural Ohio-Michigan Border Classic, pitting a group of the best high school football players in each state against each other.
Isiah?Moore is shown on the sidelines of the Ohio-Michigan Border Classic Saturday in Findlay.
Columbian’s Isiah Moore (right) blocks a Michigan defender during Saturday’s Border Classic in Findlay.
Michigan got the better of their counterparts on the field, claiming a 27-14 decision, but that didn't put a damper on the experience for Moore, who had already competed in the Ohio North-South game in April.
"This is the best one honestly," he said. "There's a lot of competition here and I was thankful to play in it. And now I can't wait to get to the next level."
For years Moore proudly sported the blue and gold of Columbian, and represented his school and the Tiffin community well. Saturday, Moore not only represented Tiffin, but the entire state of Ohio.
"To play in the very first one is a great honor. I really liked it, it's just special," he said. "It's a great honor. Not everyone gets to do it. When you get to do it, take advantage of it."
The Border Classic was started when Ohio was replaced by Maryland in the Big 33 Classic against Pennsylvania. Though the game doesn't have the tradition yet of some other all-star games, the players on both sides recognized the honor of being selected for the first edition of the game.
"It's a privilege to be here," said Ohio's Marshon Lattimore, a Cleveland Glenville graduate and future Ohio State Buckeye. "They could've picked anybody else, but they wanted me here. So I had to get here and put out for Ohio. Represent for Ohio."
Michigan running back Devon Spaulding was named his squad's offensive MVP after rushing for 79 yards and a touchdown. Playing as a high schooler one final time before going off to Central Michigan, Spaulding called his MVP honor a dream come true.
"It's a crazy feeling," he said. "You always dream about things like this. Honestly I feel I'm living a dream right now. It's so super-surreal I can't explain it."
For Moore, playing in two of the top all-star games for Ohio standouts shows him where he stands before moving on to play at Bowling Green.
"It teaches you where you're at and what you need to work on," he said. "To be the best, to go against the best you got to work to get better."
The second edition of the Classic will be next year at a site to be determined in Michigan. After that, the future is uncertain, but if the crowd which came to Findlay, and the passion the players showed for the game is any indication, this could simply be the beginning of a great summer tradition.
Moore said the door is open for those coming through the Columbian pipeline to follow in his footsteps to represent the town, school and state.
"Just believe in yourself," he said. "Just believe and work. Always be in there, be in the weight room just commit yourself to it you'll be fine."