Aside from a loss to the defending Class AAAAA state champions – Elk River – to open the season, Moorhead would be going into Friday's game against Sartell-St. Stephen undefeated. One of the reasons for their hot start is senior do-everything athlete Otis Weah.
Weah's family has seen just about everything.
“I was born in Ghana,” Weah said. “I lived there for two years before we moved to Brooklyn Park.”
Weah's grandmother came to America when Otis' mother – CeCe – was around 10 years old. When she had established herself in the United States, she brought CeCe and a two-year-old Otis to the states.
Like many American boys, Weah started to play football at a young age. In youth ball, Weah was in a different role than now.
“Back then I was taller than most people, so I was a tight end and a defensive end,' Weah said. “They didn't move me to running back until seventh grade.”
A couple of years later the family would move to Moorhead.
“I moved to Moorhead the year before my freshman year,” said the Spuds' senior. “The offense was different. I had never run the ball from the slot. I fit in most at fullback, so that is where I stared. As I learned the offense more and more, they started moving me around.”
Eventually, he settled in at slot and safety.
“Offensively I have good vision out of the backfield,” Weah said. “If I see something that is or isn't there I will hit it or avoid it.”
“I play strong safety on defense,” Weah continued. “I think I am physical and faster than most. I like to play fast and go hit something.”
A starter on offense since a sophomore and both ways starting last year, Weah also returns kicks and punts.
Since his sophomore year, Weah feels his biggest improvements have been not letting a mistake morph into another mistake. He moves on to the next play much easier since he first cracked the varsity lineup. He also feels he has improved his ability to read and react to situations.
During the winter, Weah works through Moorhead's weight program – which focuses on bench, clean and squat – as well as cone work for his speed and quickness.
In the spring, NFN's 39th-ranked senior shifts his focus to track and field.
“I long jump, and I run the 100 and the 200,” Weah said. “I went to state in the 100, and I missed qualifying for state in the long jump by a half an inch.”
Two years ago CeCe's focus was on getting herself and her children to become United State's citizens.
“I decided to become a U.S. citizen because I love this country and I wanted my kids to have the opportunity to go to college and become whatever they want to,” CeCe said.
“(Becoming a citizen) took me about one year,” CeCe continued. “I don't know why I waited so long. I guess I just wasn't ready, but I knew I wanted to do it before Otis turned 18.”
Assuming he continues to progress as a football player, Weah already has and is sure to get more opportunities to attend a college.
“North Dakota State and North Dakota have shown me interest,” Weah said. “I have offers from NSIC schools like Bemidji State and the University of Mary.”
Weah thinks he has a good handle on what position he will be playing at the next level.
“They see me as a running back. (College programs) like that, I am an explosive player when I get in the open field.”
Weah is confident the Spuds can make a run at the state tournament and possibly beyond this season. To do that the two-way player will have to continue his solid senior season. If he has that solid season, his options to play college football will continue to expand.
Note: An earlier version of the published story incorrectly attributed the cover photo to Hudl.com. It has been corrected.