Moses Meus was the best defensive player in Rhode Island high school football, a threat to score every time he touched the ball and might have been the best punter and kickoff specialist as well. He ended his career with a Division II Super Bowl win, MVP honors from the game and is a lock to earn a third straight first team All-State spot.
Now he’s got to make room for one more trophy.
Friday morning – just a few hours before a scheduled ceremony where he’s set to make his college decision – Meus was announced as the 2022-23 Gatorade Rhode Island Football Player of the Year.
The Class of 2023 was one of Rhode Island’s deepest as far as football talent goes but there was an argument to be made that Meus was the best player in the state at several positions.
Defense has been where Meus has been most dominant and this season was no different. This season he finished with 94 tackles, six for lost, three forced fumbles and two sacks. His play on the defensive side of the ball the Division II Super Bowl – where he recorded 16 tackles – was a big reason why St. Raphael came away with the 7-3 win over Portsmouth and earned himself MVP honors.
Meus was also a dynamic offensive player. He was used at tailback, fullback, receiver and tight end in the Saints’ run-first offense. Meus had 69 carries this season for 531 yards and four touchdowns and also caught 14 passes for 273 yards and five scores.
On special teams Meus may have been the state’s top punter and his kickoffs routinely led to touchbacks. He also came up with two blocked punts – one that helped St. Raphael beat Westerly in the Division II semifinals – and one blocked field goal.
Winning Gatorade Player of the Year comes down to more than just play on the field and Meus had no problem excelling away from it. He’s volunteers during St. Raphael’s Special Olympics fundraising week, collects food items for the Pawtucket Food Kitchen and hygiene supplies for the Ronald McDonald House. Meus has also spent time over the years as a volunteer youth flag football coach.
He’s equally strong in the classroom and has maintained an A-minus average while at St. Raphael. Meus has made his college decision but hasn’t announced it publicly. He’s named the Army, the University of Rhode Island and Wake Forest as his final three and is taking part in a ceremony at St. Raphael on Friday at 2:30 to announce where he’s headed.
Meus is the third St. Raphael football player to win the award and the first since Alfred Dobor in 2014-15. He’s the first primary defensive player to be honored since North Kingstown defensive end Dylan Poirier in 2018-19. It’s the second straight year a Division II player has earned the honor, following Classical wide receiver Marquis Buchanan last season. A Division I player hasn’t won the award since North Kingstown quarterback James Osmanski in 2019-20.
It’s the 27th time a St. Raphael athlete has been honored by Gatorade. If Devan Kipyego is honored for Boys Cross Country or Boys Track and Field – or both – it would mark the second time two different Saint boys were named Gatorade Player of the Year in a single school year. The last time it happened came in 1988-89 when Neil Butler was honored for track and field and Dave Desjardins was honored for baseball. Kipyego was honored twice last school year, winning for both cross country and track and field.