It Should Be Moore of the Same for Hart

Imagine seeing John Elway, Steve Young and Joe Montana on the same football field. It would offer inspiration to any aspiring quarterback.

So understand the special moment that took place at Hart High this week.

On the same practice field were Kyle Boller, starting quarterback at California; Kyle Matter, bound for Stanford, and Matt Moore, Hart's next prolific quarterback.

If only David Neill, the starting quarterback at Nevada, had flown in from Reno, the Indians could have held a Hall of Fame dinner on the spot.

"I look up to those guys," Moore said. "It tells me hard work pays off."

Since Hart has produced an All-Southern Section quarterback for 16 consecutive seasons, you'd think someone at the school could have developed a ceremony symbolizing the passing of the position from one quarterback to the next.

All Moore can expect is a phone call this fall from Matter wishing him good luck before his first start. That's what Boller did for Matter before his first game in 1999.

"I think you have to pick up where the other left off," Moore said. "You learn from the guy ahead of you.

"Everybody wants to be a Hart quarterback, and now finally it's my turn. You have to make the best of it."

Moore is a 6-foot-4, 175-pound senior who's more athletic than Boller or Matter. If he weren't so enamored with football, he might be a professional baseball prospect. He doesn't turn 17 until Aug. 9, so he's still maturing physically.

He wants to look like Boller one day. It's hard to believe Boller was ever a skinny, uncoordinated high school freshman.

Today, he's 6-4 and a buff 205 pounds, with a powerful right arm.

Matter, 6-3 and 190 pounds, is so smart and accurate as a passer it won't be long before Stanford fans think he's another Montana.

College coaches who overlooked Boller because he didn't start until his senior year are scrambling to make sure they don't let Moore slip away.

Colorado Coach Gary Barnett sent Moore a letter last month offering him a scholarship, even though Moore has never started a varsity game.

"That kind of boggled my mind," Moore said. "I was happy but kind of thought to myself, 'I don't know if they have seen me throw.' "

Barnett is smart, because as soon as others see Moore throw, there's going to be long line of college coaches trying to arrange visits to Moore's home in Valencia.

Moore's summer season begins today. He will compete at UCLA's one-day camp for top high school prospects. Whether the Bruins offer Moore a scholarship will be interesting. They chose J.P. Losman of Venice over Boller at the same camp three summers ago.

"I'm just going to go out there and throw and show them what I got," he said.

What Moore possesses is Boller-like arm strength and the ability to throw accurately and powerfully on the run. He can throw a football 74 yards. His 10 interceptions last season at free safety reinforce his reputation as a top athlete. All he lacks is experience at quarterback.

"He's going to be awesome," Matter said.

Moore threw 34 passes as Matter's backup, spending lots of time observing and learning.

"Just talking to [Matter] helped you out," he said. "I remember watching him in the Valencia game, staying in the [pocket] and taking hit after hit. That's something I have to learn to do."

Few schools play in as many summer passing games as Hart.

Besides getting a good tan, Moore will receive an education on reading defenses and mastering the intricacies of Hart's offense.

"I think summer is more about learning," he said. "You go through summer always asking questions and coaches answering them. When the season comes around, that's when you show everybody what you can do."

Receiver Chris Steck is Moore's best friend. He has seen Moore's competitive drive.

Moore doesn't like to lose in anything, which helps explain his reaction when he loses to Steck in video ice hockey. The control device usually gets slammed to the carpet.

"I tell him not to get bitter, get better," Steck said.

Countered Moore: "Let's see if Chris can catch up to my [passes]."

Moore's father, Don, was a top pitcher for El Camino Real in 1977 and played in the minor leagues. He helped bring out the best in his son.

"We'd go out every day and just throw, catch and run," Moore said.

There's no hiding from the expectations and challenges of being a Hart quarterback.

"The attention is unbelievable," said St. Francis Coach Jim Bonds, the Hart quarterback from 1985-86. "It's an enormous amount of pressure."

Nothing is going to faze Moore during his reign as Hart quarterback.

"I don't have any doubts," he said. "You know what, I just say expect more of the same. It's not just me.

"You have to look at the receivers, the line . . . it's like hard to be bad."


Eric Sondheimer can be reached at:

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