July 13, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Irvine quarterback Beck Moss figured football would return, now he’s poised for big year

Irvine High quarterback Beck Moss scrambles during a game in 2019. (File photo: Fernando M. Donado, For OC Sports Zone)

Irvine High School quarterback Beck Moss said he figured all along that football was eventually coming back and he would be able to lead the Vaqueros into the much-delayed season opener.

“I’m very positive; I’m really happy about that, it brightened my day, I couldn’t stop smiling,” said the 6-3, 190-pound senior referring to when he found out that the California Department of Public Health and the CIF gave the go-ahead for high school football to return if the county gets to the required coronavirus average of 14 cases or below per 100,000 residents.

“I was one of the few guys on the team that did not have a doubt. I’ve been praying and talking to God about this stuff and continually asking him and I knew this was going to happen and knew this was coming and I’ve just been waiting for it.”

Moss admitted there were challenges along the way. Football was supposed to start in August and postponed until January. Then the tentative March date was announced on Friday with full practices starting as early as Friday, Feb. 26 and games possibly beginning two weeks later.

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“It was rough, it was a long, long time,” Moss said.

Moss said he and his teammates kept hearing “‘we will tell you next week.’ But once the news got here I was ecstatic. The wait was rough but it was worth it. We at least get to play something, right?”

Moss said he tried to keep his teammates’ spirits up.

“A lot of dudes were like, no, ‘it’s not going to happen.’ I tried not to let that to spread and bring them back to the positive side of things like, ‘this is going to happen. We’re not going to let this waiting period get us down and let us give up on stuff. We’re going to keep pushing through it.’ Now that we’ve heard this news people are really excited and happy that we stuck with it and we kept pushing and we kept training because we were waiting for this.”

Moss has been setting an example for the team all the way through the Coronavirus pandemic, Irvine High head football coach Tom Ricci said. As a junior, Moss threw for 2,193 yards and 19 touchdowns earning first team all-league honors for the Vaqueros, who were 1-9 overall in 2019.

“He is one of the hardest working athletes I have had the privilege to coach in my 30 something years of coaching,” Ricci said. “He has taken on the leadership roll along with our leadership group and is like having a coach on the field.  He lives and breathes Irvine football and is the epitome of what we stand for.  Everything he does is for the betterment of the team.” 

Moss appears to have done all he can to stay ready.

“I got a weight rack in my garage, I’m lucky enough to have a large park at the end of my street and my top receiver and buddy Kade Zimmerman, lives across the street so we were able to do some workouts,” Moss said. “I was lucky enough to have that. So I’ve been working out, doing as much as I can on my own.”

Moss said he also followed coronavirus safety protocols to remain healthy.

“I have not been going out much, I’ve been staying within my little group,” Moss said.

About the most contact he’s had has been working out with the players in his Irvine High practice pod after the team was allowed to resume conditioning drills.

“I’ve been trying to stay really safe about this,” he said. “I always wear my mask whenever I go get groceries or whatever. So, just following all the guidelines as best I can.”

Moss was excited to finally return to in person conditioning drills compared to earlier, when meetings were held on Zoom.

“We would have Zoom meetings,” he said. “We would go over offense, defense, the basic stuff. We were all ready to go and on the same page, working on stuff we’ve been learning, but now we got to do it on the field instead of on-line which was really great.”

Moss said he realizes there will be an adjustment to actual game speed when full practices begin and then games start.

“That’s going to be the tough part,” he said. “Our coaches are planning stuff and we’re trying to figure stuff out. We’re just waiting for the district’s go-ahead and trying to figure out what we’re allowed to do and what we’re not allowed to do.

“So a lot of that is up in the air right now. But the way I’m going to do it is every rep I get I’m going to go a thousand percent. I’m going to keep myself in shape, I’m going to keep lifting and give my full effort so I’m in full condition and able to go full speed every rep.”

Moss said he looks forward to playing again on the football field with his Irvine football family, including talented wide receiver/free safety Kade Zimmerman, his favorite target in 2019.

“That’s going to be amazing,” Moss said. “Me and my family, his family, his parents and siblings, we’ve all been looking forward to this season, our senior season, because we get to play together.

“We met when we were four years old. We played flag football all of our little kid years, we grew up playing at the park at the end of our street. This year was the year, we were looking forward to it, then all of this craziness happened so it got delayed and delayed but I knew it was coming. God’s had this plan, he’s been building it up. And I’ve been waiting and preparing pretty much my whole life with these two boys, Kade and Tate, to just ball out this year. We’re all so happy to hear this news.”

Whenever the season starts, it appears the schedule will only include games against Pacific Coast League teams. CIF Southern Section officials announced earlier that no playoff games would be held, but they were hoping squads would get in an abbreviated schedule of five to six games.

“No playoffs, which is a bummer,” Moss said. “We were really hoping to raise a banner this year and go all the way and win CIF. But now that we can’t do that, we’re just going to do our best. In my mind, there is no reason that we shouldn’t win every game.

“We are so prepared, our dudes are ready for that. We want this so bad; we’re working so hard. I don’t care about personal stats. Those will come along the way with wins, but I’m not striving for any of those. All I care about is getting wins for the guys around me. Now that we can’t go to the playoffs, we’re getting the (Dennis Toohey) Fence Post, we’re taking it back and we’re going to win league this year.”

There will be adjustments too, among them, weekly testing for players.

“Trying to keep us safe is the most important thing. I want to play but I want everyone to be healthy too,” Moss said. “The testing thing I find really positive.”

The fan support in the stands might be quite different too. Current rules by the California Department of Public Health and the CIF allow only immediate families of players to attend the games.

“The fans are a big part of it too,” Moss said. “They come to watch us win and the Irvine fans support us all the time. Even if we don’t win, they’re really supportive, they’re loud and they cheer; we play for them too. We want to give them a good show and we want to win for them and give them a sense of school pride.

“But it’s a bummer that a lot of students won’t be able to make it this year. It’s going to be quieter and weird looking up and not seeing it all packed in with the confetti and the smoke and all the cheering and the loud noise. It’s going to be weird having it so quiet in there. But I’m pretty sure those family members are going to be able to cheer pretty loud for their boys.”

Moss is also hoping that other athletes, including basketball and volleyball players, get the chance to compete this year. Currently, those sports are grouped in the minimal yellow tier.

“I’m really sad for that because I know there are guys, not just at my school, but all over the place that want to play that (basketball),” he said. “Not everybody plays football. A lot of times guys will play basketball. My sister plays volleyball and they’re (volleyball) also in the yellow tier because they’re also indoors.

“It’s really sad to see that we get to do this and they don’t. I would prefer that everyone got to do this because a lot of these athletes dedicate a lot of their time to their sport and they’ve been training and training over this past year and they don’t get to do that. I am praying for them too that we get down to that yellow tier in time for them to have a season too.”

The senior season, provided it does occur, will likely go quickly with an abbreviated schedule. Then, it will be time to plan for Moss to look ahead.

“It’s been a little quiet lately but I still have a little bit of interest from a couple of guys,” Moss said. “If that doesn’t work out, I’m probably going to go junior college and try and bounce from there because this season has been a little crazy. It’s a little late now but something might open up, you never know.”

“I haven’t really worried about that. My whole attitude is, ‘God’s got this and he’s going to handle it and have it work out the way it’s supposed to.’

Ricci, the coach, said he remains hopeful that a college program will land Moss.

“He has had plenty of college teams talking with him, but no offers yet as COVID has thrown a wrench into recruiting, but it’s their loss,” Ricci said. “He led the division in passing yards with a young team and an offensive line that averaged 170 pounds. Some college team is going to find a diamond in the rough with him and I can’t wait until that happens.  What a great young man.”

Moss said his main focus is on the first game, whenever that will be.

“It’s going to be really emotional,” he said. “I’m going to be really excited. That first senior game is going to be a really big deal. I’ve been waiting for that for a long time. We’re all going to be so prepared and so excited. But we’re all going to be really sad too because we know the clock has started. It’s our last season, so we got to give everything we got because there is no tomorrow for us.”

-Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone; timburt@ocsportszone.com