Unsung heroes: Matt Moyers, Cardinal Newman

Notable: This summer, when Newman was getting ready for its season opener against Central Catholic of Modesto, coach Paul Cronin went to Moyers with a proposal.
Even though he was a senior, it was obvious Moyers wasn’t going to get much playing time. Would he agree to become the leader of the scout team (playing roles as part of the upcoming opposition during practices)? The scout team also reviews the scouting report with the coaches (Cronin for offense and Bao Alderson for defense).
Moyers accepted the assignment, even though this was his fourth and final year playing for Newman. He has become the leader of the scout team. He takes on the roles of the top players of the teams Newman is going to face. He plays a position on offense and defense. One week, he might be a running back and linebacker, the next he makes a play at wide receiver and safety. Like all acting roles, it changes from week to week.
Cronin said the 5 foot-10, 160-pound Moyers does his job with enthusiasm every day at practice. In eight years at Newman, Cronin said Moyers is one of the best scout team players he’s had. His attitude is totally team oriented.
A CONVERSATION WITH MATT MOYERS
PD: How would you evaluate the team’s performance against Campolindo on Friday?
Moyers: We did really well. It think that we prepared really well for it and our players put in a lot of time and effort into it and it really paid off. We executed our game plan really well, especially on defense. Daniel Benjamin made some great plays out there. We had our defense dialed in that game. We spent a lot of time in the film room, and I am happy for the outcome because we worked really hard during the week studying what they were doing.
PD: How are you preparing to face Bishop O’Dowd on their home field this weekend?
Moyers: To prepare for Bishop O’Dowd’s field, we are practicing at Montgomery because they have turf and they were nice enough to let us use their field. We are also practicing under the lights, which we have done since it has gotten darker earlier. We have a lot of film on them. We also brought some players that had graduated to help be our scout guys and give us a good look.
PD: How did you feel when Coach Cronin approached you and asked you to be the scout team leader?
Moyers: At first I didn’t know what to think. I couldn’t decide how to take that, whether it was a good thing or a bad thing. I found out that it doesn’t matter whether you are the star or the bench guy, you can still be a leader if you make the right decisions. If he had given this spot to anyone they could take it like, “Oh man this sucks, this is no fun, this is going to be a crappy year!” The other way to look at it is to be optimistic about it. I have been of the mind-set of: “If it will help my team, then I want to be a part of it.” Toward the beginning of the season, when we started running some real scout stuff against Central Catholic, I was really proud that I could be the leader of the scout team, it was really fun.
PD: How have you liked being the scout team leader?
Moyers:It has been tough, I won’t lie, watching all of my friends score touchdowns and having to be on the sideline and having my family watch me on the sideline. It really makes a difference when my teammates come up to me and tell me how much they appreciate it and my coaches never get tired of telling me how much they appreciate what I am doing. There were definitely some rough times. It is hard sitting out, but for the most part I liked it.
PD: How have you been able to help your team enough this year so that your coach would nominate you as a hero for the team?
Moyers: There were two weeks of practice where we were playing against Valley Christian, which has Byron Marshall, who is going to be an NFL stud. I had to be him for a while and they run the Wing T and so I was one of the wings and I would have to go up against the strong safeties and outside linebackers. And I weigh 135 pounds, so when I would run up to try to block, nine times out of 10 I would end up on my back.
PD: How have you been able to adjust week to week to your different position assignments?
Moyers: It is kind of fun actually, because you get some diversity in there. One week I will be a wing, one week I will be a running back and one week I will be a receiver. They usually try to find the best body type for the person, so if they have a short, stout running back they will choose someone else, but for the most part, to change from week to week it’s been fun. I just have to get after it and make my teammates better.
PD: Your coach said that you are very enthusiastic on the practice field — how have you kept that up the whole year?
Moyers: You can have two different mind-sets, either you mope about it or try and make the best of it. Last year I was a scout guy and had the negative approach, but this year I figured, “You know what? It is my senior year. I am playing with some really talented juniors who are probably going to take my spot next year. So I am just going to pound it out and I might as well make the best of it and get after it every day.” Before every game we have to write goals for our coaches, and one of my goals is always to make sure that my teammates are prepared for the game, and if they are then I feel like that goal is accomplished.
PD: How do you feel about your high school athletic career thus far?
Moyers: It has been a roller-coaster ride so far. Freshman year I was the starting quarterback, then to finish my senior year as a scout guy is something that I don’t like to meditate on too much, but it has been a really good experience.I have really learned that it’s not about whether you win or lose. I know it’s easy to say that when you are at Newman, but it is really about the friendships you make. I wouldn’t know half the guys on this team if I didn’t play football. So even if I don’t really play, I am just glad that I am out here with my friends.
— Jonathan Pierce
For the Press Democrat