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Moore of the Same at Hart Next Season

Indians should not miss a beat with junior waiting in the wings to replace Matter at Quarterback High.

November 09, 2000|DAVE DESMOND | TIMES STAFF WRITER

NEWHALL — There have been so many All-Southern Section quarterbacks at Hart High that the ever-growing fraternity could almost swing a presidential election.

This figures to be the 16th consecutive season an Indian quarterback receives the honor.

They've built such a reputation that college recruiters will practically offer a scholarship to anyone at Hart who lines up under center.

So, with senior Kyle Matter on his way to Stanford, the question arises: Who's next?

Meet Matt Moore, a junior with a 6-foot-4 and 180-pound frame, a Howitzer for an arm and the patience to wait his turn in line.

With all of 10 varsity passes under his belt, Moore figures to be one of the region's prized recruits in 2001.

It could be a repeat of 1998, when Kyle Boller accepted a scholarship to California, spent his only season as a starter leading his team to a Southern Section Division III title and was an All-American.

"He'll get offers before he even throws for us," offensive coordinator Dean Herrington said of Moore. "After Boller, nobody wants to be left behind when there's another one available."

USC, UCLA and Oklahoma are among the schools to already express an interest.

Moore, who has dreamed of playing in the Pacific 10 Conference, is almost giddy at the thought.

"This is all very exciting," he said. "All I've wanted is to be the Hart quarterback. I can't wait."

But he must.

Until he gets his chance, Moore is doing what many other Hart quarterbacks have done before him.

He's playing safety and learning about passing offenses from the other side of the ball.

Moore has proven a quick study, intercepting six passes, including three in one game.

He's hoping to tie the school record of seven tonight, when Hart (7-2, 4-0 in league play) plays Saugus (5-4, 3-1) at College of the Canyons and tries to claim the Foothill League championship to go with its 48th consecutive league victory.

He'll also keep an eye on Matter, Hart's career leader with 6,307 yards passing and 72 touchdowns in his two seasons.

"I'm watching his every move and taking notes of things here and there," he said. "I've learned a lot by seeing how he does things, how he draws back and steps around the pocket, the way he looks at his receivers and decides when to throw and to who."

Moore has completed only three of 10 passes for 27 yards while filling in for Matter. Don't let the numbers fool you. The Indians know quarterbacks, and they're pretty sure they have a gem.

Coach Mike Herrington isn't waiting to name Moore his starter for next season. Let some star transfer in. He can sit behind Moore.

"He's the guy," Mike Herrington said. "It's pretty much already conceded. Matt has all the tools to be a great one and he'll have the opportunity. It's just a matter of what he does with it."

Moore will do fine, according to the program's pedigreed panel of experts.

"He's got a tremendous arm," said assistant Davis Delmatoff, Hart's all-section quarterback in 1992. "He's going to be a super quarterback."

Dean Herrington, the Indians' first all-section quarterback in 1981, said: "He's got the best physical skills of just about any quarterback we've ever had."

Matter, almost a lock for his second all-section honor: "He's very qualified and has a great arm. His arm is a lot better than mine."

In fact, almost everyone at Hart will say Moore probably has the second-strongest arm ever at the school, behind Boller.

Now, it's just a matter of waiting, then living up to the expectations placed upon every student to play the position since 1985.

Expectations like 3,000 yards passing, the Indians' 11th consecutive league championship and a run deep into the section playoffs.

"I know there's going to be pressure," said Moore, who proved his mettle by starting at shortstop as a sophomore and batting .316 last season for Hart's defending section champion baseball team. "But if I just do what I have to do, do what I'm taught, things will turn out good."

So good, perhaps, that in 2002 he will make it three former Indian quarterbacks playing in the Pac-10.

"The thought gives me goose bumps," he said.

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