2012-01-26 / Sports

Moore walks away from football, enrolls at Royal

Former Westlake QB led program to first state bowl appearance

Justin Moore Justin Moore This transfer sent shockwaves through the Marmonte League.

Decorated junior quarterback Justin Moore has decided to stop playing football. The two-time CIF-Southern Section Northern Division champion signal-caller for Westlake High has transferred to Royal High in his hometown of Simi Valley.

“This is not a random, emotional decision,” Moore told the Daily News. “It’s something I’ve thought about for a while. It’s for personal reasons, and I’d rather keep it out of the news.

“I’m very content with my decision. It’s something that’s appropriate and something that’s best for me. But I will always miss playing the sport because I love it so much.”

Moore helped the Warriors win section titles in 2009 and 2011. As a freshman, he came off the bench to replace an injured Nick Isham in the section championship game and led Westlake to a win over Moorpark.

This past season, Moore quarterbacked the Warriors to a 14-1 record and the first state bowl appearance in school history, a loss against De La Salle in December.

Moore, who also plays defensive back, was a revelation in his first season as the full-time starter at quarterback. This fall, he completed 172-of-272 passes for 2,483 yards with 27 touchdowns and six interceptions. He rushed for 1,099 yards and 13 scores.

According to multiple sources, Moore had a scholarship offer from Southern Methodist University and interest from Pac-12 schools USC, UCLA, Oregon and California.

“He’s made a decision not to play, that it wasn’t in his path, and I support him,” Westlake head coach Jim Benkert told the Los Angeles Times.

Junior Neil Uskali and sophomore Tommy Gonzalez both took limited snaps behind center this season for Westlake.

Kevin Flye, Royal’s football head coach, said he’s told his players to give Moore space—but his office door is always open if Moore has a change of heart.

“I told our players, let him get acclimated,” Flye said. “Make him feel welcome. Let him get comfortable. If there’s any inquiries, he can talk to me anytime. I’m not going to seek him out. . . .

“As far as I’m concerned, he’s a student first. Obviously, if he wanted to play football, I’m sure we could use him. He’d be a welcome addition. He’s been through a lot with all the pressure on him. The bottom line is, he needs to be a kid and student first. Whatever the future holds, we’ll see how it unfolds.”

Eliav Appelbaum

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