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CHRIS FOSTER

Hirchag Isn't Out of Picture

November 07, 1995|CHRIS FOSTER

Capistrano Valley's Tim Hirchag is lurking. He knows where the ball will be thrown and waits. The scenario plays out as if he'd been in the Mater Dei huddle.

Monarch quarterback Nick Stremick tries to hit receiver David Castleton at the goal line--right where Hirchag is lurking. As the ball arrives, he makes his move and intercepts . . . oops, no, off his hands, incomplete.

Some days, you do what you can.

This hasn't been the best of times for Hirchag. The pass Thursday night was just another moment for him to expect a little more and get a little less.

Back in September, Hirchag was the Cougars' starting quarterback. Not only that, he was the returning starter. A junior quarterback in an all-junior backfield and all had a year of varsity experience. Something any coach would drool over.

Then Wunderkind Austin Moherman got another dose of wanderlust , leaving Hirchag wondering what happened. Moherman, also a junior, zig-zagged from Mission Viejo to Los Angeles Wilson to Capistrano Valley, taking up residence one game into the season.

Now it's: "Moherman back to pass."

And: "Hey, whatever happened to that other kid?"

You see, Hirchag is the guy who gets forgotten when others have their mail forwarded. The people with permanent addresses who seem to get lost in the shuffle, like Marcel Durand . . .

. . . Durand . . .

D-U-R-A-N-D.

There was a time when Durand was scheduled to be the Cougars' starting quarterback. Then some guy named Marinovich transferred in and it was "Marcel, oh well."

That was back when school touring was still kind of rare. These days, almost everyone has a packed bag in the closet. Or maybe we just notice those people, not the ones they dislodge.

Anyone remember who Michael Graham replaced at Edison? When Derek Sparks took a one-year vacation at Mater Dei, who took a seat? And whose starting spot did Schea Cotton confiscate at Mater Dei?

But Hirchag did not allow himself to become a local trivia answer. He told Coach Dave Brown two things.

1. I'm not handing over the job without a fight.

2. If you pick Moherman, where else do you need me?

Brief competition ensued, followed by Hirchag ripping open the index finger on his throwing hand while making a tackle against Esperanza. By the time the stitches were removed, Moherman was set at quarterback.

Time to pout? Maybe dabble in the occult? Naw. Hirchag had better things to do than stick pins in a quarterback doll. Like, play defensive back, as he had most of the season. Not even the finger injury stopped that. Hirchag didn't miss a game; he had his hand mummified so he could play against Foothill.

Now this wasn't a gimme from a guilt-ridden coach to a player who lost his position. The Hirchag highlight reel includes a goal-line interception against Trabuco Hills, where he came across the field to make the play.

And those quarterback-leadership qualities don't just come with the position. After making that interception, Hirchag tangled with a Trabuco Hills' player and the two were ejected. Both had to sit out a game under Southern Section rules.

Time to pout? Naw. Hirchag spent the week helping sophomore Curt Rodriguez, who would replace him for one game.

Some days, you do what you can.

And other days? Well, Marcel Durand went to Harvard.

And if some day, this season or next, the Cougars need Hirchag to play quarterback, he'll be there lurking.

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