When Cody Bruns runs onto a college football field for the final time Saturday, a familiar face will be on the opposite sideline.
Bruns, a 2007 Prosser High graduate, will be squaring off against lifelong friend Kirby Moore, a 2008 Prosser grad.
Bruns plays wide receiver for the University of Washington (7-5), while Moore plays the same position for Boise State (10-2).
The pair have never played against each other in college, but agreed it is a fitting send off for Bruns.
“I had talked to Cody a few times about things working out this way,” Moore said in a phone interview. “And I’m really excited for the week and looking forward to the game.”
The teams play at 12:30 p.m. Saturday in the MAACO Bowl in Las Vegas.
“This is going to be fun,” Bruns said in a phone interview. “I’ve been talking to coach (Tom) Moore and Kirby. I’m definitely looking forward to it.”
The receivers have been connected since their days playing at Prosser’s Art Fiker Stadium under coach Moore, setting receiving and scoring records and winning a state title in 2007.
Moore and Bruns still are ranked 1-2 in state history in five categories for receiving.
While their college careers haven’t quite matched those impressive high school numbers, both are happy with their recent performances.
“I’ve enjoyed my five years here,” said Bruns, who redshirted his junior season. “I’ve seen this program at its very worst, and now it is getting back to where I think it should be as far as competing. And hopefully getting back to the Rose Bowl and things of that nature.”
Bruns has had some tough moments with the Huskies.
He initially was redshirting as a freshman, but then-coach Tyrone Willingham decided to use him in a blowout loss at Arizona. The decision cost Bruns his redshirt that year, and the move was lambasted by Seattle Times columnist Steve Kelley.
Bruns then sat out his junior year after his father, Buck, died of a pancreatic illness.
“Looking back there are a lot of adverse times, but at the same time it makes you into the person you are,” Bruns said. “College football and everything we put into this ... it’s so cool.”
Bruns has played in every game this season, both as a wide receiver and the Huskies’ holder on field goals and extra points. He scored his first collegiate touchdown against Colorado, and added a touchdown in the Apple Cup loss to Washington State. He has 13 receptions for 103 yards and the two touchdowns this year.
Perhaps his most defining play of the season came in the Apple Cup loss.
On the first play of overtime, Washington quarterback Keith Price threw an ill-advised pass that was picked off by Washington State defensive lineman Kalafitoni Pole.
As Pole lumbered down the field toward the end zone and the game-winner, Bruns chased him down, forcing the Cougars to go on offense to get the win.
“I didn’t see the ball get intercepted. I just saw the guy start running,” Bruns said. “I knew I had to go get him.”
That kind of attitude has paid off for Bruns throughout his collegiate career. During his redshirt season in 2011, he was named the offensive scout of the year — continuing to help the team even if he wasn’t going to see the field.
“He is such a great kid,” said Tom Moore, who is now an assistant coach at Richland High. “It is amazing all the things he’s been through. He has had a lot of ups and downs. He is such a determined kid, and it is great for him to go out with a great senior year like he has been having.”
While Bruns will be wrapping up his collegiate career, Kirby Moore has another year left and is hoping his career is trending upward.
“Things are going well,” he said. “We could’ve done better in some areas (offensively), but as a whole things have gone very well and we are happy with where we are at.
“I think the last three or four weeks of the season we have been doing a great job and improving on offense, and I’m hoping that carries over to our next game.”
Moore is the second leading receiver for the Broncos this season. He has 36 receptions for 368 yards and a touchdown. He had his best game in a 40-14 victory over Southern Mississippi on Oct. 6, recording five catches for 61 yards and the score.
“I’m really looking forward to next year and just trying to improve as a teammate and a player,” Moore said.
Before next year comes, though. There is a bit of business between old friends on Saturday.
“No predictions,” Bruns said. “I’m just going to enjoy this last game and play it like it should be played.”