CHOCTAW COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI) — Choctaw County’s Moe Hardin is remembered as a son, as an older brother and as a teammate.
“He was a big-hearted giant,” Moe’s father, Corey Hardin said. “He was the humblest kid you could meet.”
Number 11 loved his family, science and celebrating big wins with spicy fries and chicken strips.
“He was always joking and laughing and playing around,’ Choctaw County senior DE Tabias Merritt said. “When it comes to football he’s serious.”
Hardin excelled as a two sports athlete in baseball and football. He had dreams of attending college and pursuing a career in coaching.
“He hit a ball so hard that it hit somebody’s car and the man came to me and said ‘ma’am is that your baby?’ I said ‘yes sir,’ and he said don’t ever let him stop playing ball,” Moe’s mother, Penny Hardin said.
From the day Moe got sick in late December of 2017, until the day he passed on March 20th of 2018, Hardin’s parents say he never lost hope. Rather, he continued to care for others.
“I came into ICU and he had his eyes closed. I thought he was depressed. I said ‘Moe…he did this [hand up] and when he got through he said ‘mama I’m praying for myself and I’m praying for everybody in this hospital because everybody needs prayer,” Penny Hardin said.
A year and a half later, the Chargers carry-on Moe’s memory as senior defensive end Tabias Merrit rocks his infamous number 11.
“I know he’s looking down on me each and every day trying to be a leader to the team and do what he’s done in the past,” Merritt said.
“I know if he was living today he would love that,” Corey Hardin said.
Merritt was selected to wear Hardin’s jersey by the defensive staff and while wearing number 11, Merritt tries to support his fellow Chargers just how Moe was known to do every day.
“Just being a leader to everybody and keep everybody’s heads up even though things don’t go as planned sometimes. Just keep working,” Merritt said.
Moe’s parents offered some advice on how to best wear Hardin’s jersey: “have heart. have heart and be humble,” Penny Hardin said.
Merritt plans to do just that as he continues to think of his brother Moe each day.
“I hope everybody gets the chance to wear this number because it’s a great feeling each and every day. Knowing that you’re with number 11 and he did such a good job wearing it and that he’s up there smiling on us helping us out each and every day,” Merritt said.
Choctaw County plans to continue the new tradition by selecting a defensive player to wear Hardin’s jersey every new season.