Derron Moore powers Woodbury to first public state title on anniversary of his grandmother's passing
Updated: Dec 3, 2022
Woodbury's Derron Moore (1) reacts as the National Anthem is played ahead of the NJSIAA Group 1 state final at Rutgers University's SHI Stadium in Piscataway, New Jersey on Saturday, December 3, 2022. Ryan Fuhs/D2 Sports Network
PISCATAWAY (N.J.) - Derron Moore ensured his grandmother that he doesn't break promises.
Especially pinky promises.
The Woodbury High School linebacker's grandmother passed away a year ago. During her final moments, Moore vowed to win a championship in her honor.
His promise came to fruition as the Thundering Herd stormed past Mountain Lakes, 31-7, in the inaugural NJSIAA Group 1 state final at SHI Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Woodbury became the first public state champion in New Jersey history on the anniversary of Moore's grandmother's death.
"It meant everything to me," Moore said. "It was a hard day. I was playing with a heavy heart. I lost my grandma last year on this day. I made that promise when she was in the hospital bed. I told her, 'I promise I'm going to win this.' I don't break promises."
The Duquesne commit tallied a team-high 11 tackles, two tackles for loss, and a forced fumble. He also scored a one-yard rushing touchdown with 2:34 left in regulation to ignite an early celebration on the Thundering Herd's sideline.
"I went out here and performed well," Moore said. "I made it known that I'm a play my best game."
It was a special day for his teammate Wilson Torres, too.
Torres dislocated his shoulder two days before the South Jersey Group 1 final against Maple Shade. The junior spent time in the hospital and risked not playing again in 2021.
However, Torres' recovery timeline aligned with the scheduled NJSIAA public state finals.
Woodbury coach Anthony Reagan reminded the team after its victory over Maple Shade that the only way to get Torres back on the field was to defeat Salem and qualify for the state championship at Rutgers University.
Torres returned on Saturday and delivered a punch with a 33-yard interception return touchdown in the fourth quarter.
"My teammates been holding me down for the past two weeks," Torres said. "I knew I was going to be back playing today. I knew it. When I was in the hospital, I trusted my teammates. My brothers knew. They told me I was gonna be back."
Running back Anthony Reagan, Jr. powered the Thundering Herd with 211 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.
Quarterback Bryan Johnson accumulated 146 yards and a touchdown through the air. Ja'Bron Solomon reeled in four receptions for 68 yards and freshman Ibn Muhammad grabbed two catches for 24 yards and a touchdown.
The Thundering Herd's defense only surrendered 114 total yards and forced four turnovers. Nyrell Redrow contributed a team-best 2.5 tackles for loss. Jasuan Solomon and Dominic Abbatelli added two tackles for loss each.
"I got faith in my guys," Solomon said. "They came out strong, we came out strong. Defense got to capitalize off offense, offense got to capitalize off defense. And that's what we did."
Woodbury has captured two sectional crowns and a highly coveted state title over the past two seasons.
"That's very special," Torres said. "We just made history."