Golden Knight champions Barnes, Moorer set to represent Gold in all-star football game

Gold teammates Isaiah Barnes (left) and Elijah Moorer of Sussex Central attend Blue-Gold media day festivities on Sunday. Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh

NEWARK — When Isaiah Barnes and Elijah Moorer last strapped on a football helmet, the duo helped Sussex Central High win a state championship.

The two recent Central graduates were members of a defense that posted seven shutouts en route to a 12-1 season that ended with the school’s first-ever football state title.

Nearly seven months later, Barnes and Moorer will return to the site of the Golden Knights’ 33-7 Division I state championship win over Salesianum School Dec. 1.

It’ll be a little bit different this time, though.

The pair is set to suit up for the Gold in Friday night’s 64th annual DFRC Blue-Gold Football All-Star game at Delaware Stadium.
Pre-game festivities will begin at approximately 6 p.m., with kickoff slated for 7 p.m.

Barnes hopes Friday isn’t his last game at Delaware Stadium. He’s set to walk-on with the University of Delaware football program in the fall.

Moorer is heading to Wesley College to join its football program in the fall.

“It’s exhilarating. We’re just ready to get back on that field and feel that feeling again,” said Barnes. “It was really cool when we found out we were going to be doing Blue-Gold, we were hyped.”

Elijah Moorer of Sussex Central

“I would say the same thing,” Moorer added. “I’m just ready to play football again. I was very excited when they chose me for Blue-Gold. I’ve been working out ever since (I found out).”

After dropping its first game of the season — a 26-6 loss at Hodgson Vo-Tech — Sussex Central won 12 consecutive games, including three playoff games, on its way to the title win.

Both were key pieces to a defensive unit that surrendered just 5.8 points per game across 13 games – Moorer along the defensive line and Barnes in the secondary.

Representing the Gold, Barnes and Moorer will be teaming up with many of the Henlopen Conference players they spent the last four seasons competing against every Friday night.

“Honestly, it hasn’t been what you would really think it would be like,” Barnes said. “Everybody is just having a good time, laughing, talking about the season and debating who is better — Division I or Division II — so we’ve just been cutting up and having a good time with each other.”

Gold’s roster is comprised primarily of fellow Henlopen schools, including Sussex Tech High, Woodbridge High, Dover High, Caesar Rodney High, Polytech High, Smyrna High, Delmar High, Milford High, Lake Forest High, Seaford High, Indian River High and Cape Henlopen High.
Non-conference schools such as St. Georges Tech High, Middletown High, First State Military Academy, St. Andrew’s School, Red Lion Christian Academy and Appoquinimink High also have players representing the Gold.

The Blue squad is comprised of strictly upstate schools.

Each player participating in the all-star game each year is paired with a Delaware Foundation Reaching Citizens with intellectual disABILITIES (DFRC) hand-in-hand buddy.

Barnes and Moorer were paired with Yuseff Bartsch, and the trio spent time together at numerous hand-in-hand events over the last few months, including Buddy Bowling and a DFRC-sponsored dance party.

Isaiah Barnes of Sussex Central

“It’s been awesome,” said Barnes. “It’s eye-opening seeing the kids open up and having so much fun.”

“I just really like being around him,” Moorer added of Bartsch.

Bartsch has been involved with the DFRC hand-in-hand program for years and was honored with the Michael McNesby DFRC Blue-Gold All-Star Buddy Award prior to kickoff of last year’s game.

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