La Jolla High mourns loss of coach, moves forward with Friday game
By Phil Dailey
The La Jolla High School football team is still in shock over the sudden loss of offensive line coach Luis Moya.
Moya died last Friday shortly before the team’s game at Serra High School. The cause of death, according to head coach Rey Hernandez, is still unknown.
Moya, a 1994 graduate of La Jolla High, had been an assistant coach for the Vikings for most of his adult life, which started after serving in the Marine Corps. As a player, he was a critical part of the La Jolla’s 1993 team that won the Division III CIF championship his senior season against St. Augustine.
For the players who knew him best, it was hard to fathom not having Moya around, especially after hearing the news before last week’s game.
“We really played that game for him,” senior Jackson Ping said. “We wanted to beat Serra for him; he was looking down on us. We knew he would have wanted us to go play that game and do our best.”
Moya was a tough coach, but also one who respected the players and knew what the game was really about.
“He was tough when he needed to be, but he still knew how to keep the players having fun with the sport, always enjoying it,” Ping said. “He was like a father to all of us.”
According to Hernandez, Moya was a diabetic and recently had an episode at practice that caused him to leave the field. Hernandez said he was only gone a short time and it didn’t appear to be a cause for concern.
“That’s the only type of medical concern I had seen,” Hernandez said.
Other than that one time, Hernandez isn’t sure what could have happened to cause Moya’s sudden death.
“We are just speculating, I talked to his brother (Monday night) and he didn’t say anything about an autopsy so we’ll just have to wait and hear,” Hernandez added.
As for the team, it will move forward with the season and takes on rival Mission Bay on Friday night. The Vikings started the season with six straight losses, but have recently won two in a row. A win over Mission Bay would increase the team’s chances of reaching the CIF playoffs.
Finshing the season won’t be easy on this group of high school students who enjoyed having Moya a part of their team.
“It’s gonna be tough, but we know he’s watching us from up above, we’re dedicating this season to him,” senior Kevin Lemus said.
Memorial service for Moya
There will be a viewing Friday night for Moya at Aztlan Mortuary in La Mesa from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. At 11 a.m. on Saturday there will be a memorial service at Our Lady of Angels (656 24th Street, San Diego).
LA JOLLA HIGH
The Vikings (2-6, 2-1 Western League) win over Serra High last week was the team’s second straight. The Vikings trailed 21-7 at halftime, but used their ground game to pound out 21 unanswered points to top the Conquistadors, 28-21, spoiling the homecoming at Serra High.
On the game, James Stanely led the way for La Jolla with 152 yards rushing while teammate Cory Wagner added 148. Each added a touchdown in the win as well.
Mission Bay downs La Jolla in complete fashion
Mission Bay running back Anthony Magee finds a hole against the La Jolla defense
PACIFIC BEACH – Though the section playoffs don’t start for two more weeks, Mission Bay is already in the playoff mindset. The Buccaneers delivered their most complete performance of the season on Friday afternoon, beating La Jolla 37-12 to keep their postseason hopes alive.
“It was a playoff game for us,” said Mission Bay quarterback Nate Long.
Long rushed for four touchdowns and threw for another to guide Mission Bay to a decisive victory. Three of those scores came in the fourth quarter, breaking open a 10-point game.
“I give credit to everybody on the field because they did their job,” Long said. “We did everything we were supposed to do, we actually did it and we scored.”
After a scoreless first quarter, Mission Bay (2-7, 2-2 Western) broke through early in the second with a 66-yard scoring drive capped by a 24-yard Long scoring run. La Jolla answered responded with a 74-yard scoring strike from quarterback Bobby Schuman to wide open receiver Bobby Hill to make it a 7-6 game.
“They’re a team that if you make mistakes they are going to beat you, especially with the way they run their offense,” said Mission Bay head coach Willie Matson.
With La Jolla (2-7, 2-2) driving to take the lead before the half, Mission Bay defensive back Isaac Griffin intercepted a Vikings pass in the endzone. The difference at halftime was La Jolla’s missed extra point.
Mission Bay took the opening drive of the second half for a touchdown, a 19-yard pass from Long to receiver Jaquan Madyun. After a La Jolla fumble, the Buccaneers extended their lead to 16-6 with a 31-yard Jorge Duarte field goal.
“If the defense does well, that means the offense has to pick it up and that’s exactly what we did these past two weeks,” Long said.
Long found the endzone twice in the first three minutes of the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach. Mission Bay has now won two straight after losing their first seven games of the season.
“We want to go to the playoffs,” Long said.
A change in defensive strategy has keyed Mission Bay’s recent success. After a 45-13 loss to Madison on Oct. 15, the Buccaneers’ coaching decided to keep it simple.
“Sometimes when you change it midseason you confuse the kids more but what I did was change to a defense that was very very simplified,” Matson said.
Since the change, Mission Bay has allowed an average of 13 points per game. Against La Jolla, the Buccaneers forced two turnovers and stifled the Vikings’ Wing-T attack.
“Today we called one defense. Earlier in the year we were calling 10, 12 different stunts; we were getting too complicated,” Matson said. “Everybody has an assignment and a gap to cover.”
Putting together their best offensive and defensive performance of the season on Friday, Mission Bay is playing its best football at the right time. Already with a playoff mentality, the Buccaneers could be a tricky first round opponent in Division IV if they win at Serra (1-8, 1-3) next Friday.
“I’m hoping our momentum is going and we can go in and beat Serra and then we’ll have a little bit of a roll,” Matson said. “The first team that plays us is not going to want to play us.”