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Taking the reins: Prosser senior Kirby Moore is ready to lead on his own

PROSSER - Breathe easy, CWAC football coaches. There are no more Moores down on the farm.The tyrannical reign in the 2As of Prosser's Kirby and Kellen Moore is nearing an end.

First it was quarterback Kellen, who finished in 2006 as the state's all-time leader in pass completions (785) and TD passes (173). His senior year of 4,260 yards and 67 touchdowns was better than most QBs' careers.

Then it was Kirby, who for two years frequently found himself on the other side of Kellen's TD tosses, and then broke out last season with 55 catches for 1,005 yards and 22 touchdowns in the regular season. He added seven more TD catches in the postseason for a state-record 29. All that came while lining up on the other side of Cody Bruns, who capped his marvelous career - state records of 310 receptions, 5,177 yards and 72 TDs - by signing with the University of Washington.

And there was the ultimate prize last season - a state title, the first for the Mustangs since 1999.

But unlike previous years, when his brother or Bruns was the headliner for Prosser and got most of the attention from defenses, Moore is the one in the spotlight this season. But the all-state receiver and safety says he is ready to step into that role.

"I definitely want to try to help," he said. "I lead by example - I'm not the most vocal guy, but I want to make sure everyone is doing their job. And I'll work as hard or harder than everybody else."

That work ethic draws high praise from his father and coach, Tom Moore.

"He's real laid back, but there is nobody in this high school, nobody ever in this program, who has worked harder in the weight room, running and lifting, to make himself a better athlete than Kirby," said Tom, who isn't one for hyperbole.

Kirby, who shares a matter-of-fact quality with his father, said nothing less would do if he was to meet his goal of playing college football.

"Some people can go to college just on God-given ability, but they're not going to stay there without hard work," said Moore, whose 6-foot-3, 200-pound frame doesn't have much spare room aside from muscle. "Some days I like (working out), other days I'm not liking it so much. But what are you gonna do?"

That blue-collar mentality is a common trait of Mustangs football and the town of Prosser.

Tom Moore grew up in Chicago, and he and wife Kris only moved out to the Northwest after his good friend, Craig Beverlin, took the job at Kamiakin.

"One town, one high school - that's a great feature for football," Moore said. "And it was a nice place for the kids to grow up."

He added that the chance to coach both is sons "has been a gift. I've been very lucky."

Like his sons, Moore grew up around sports and was himself an athlete.

But …

"Not like them," he said with a laugh. "I was a quarterback in junior college. My dad liked to say the talent skipped a generation."

Bert Moore was a rare 12-time letterwinner at Western Illinois in football, basketball and baseball, and is a member of the school's hall of fame. Tom said it meant a lot to his father that he was able to see his grandkids play in high school before passing on a few years ago.

One thing that didn't skip a generation was Kirby and Kellen's mind for football. Their father is starting his 23rd season at Prosser, with four state titles to his credit. His 221 career wins are nearly half the program's total of 482.

Coaches around the CWAC say that both Kellen, who won his first collegiate start at Boise State on Saturday, and Kirby have a real head for the game.

"(Kirby) knows the game, a lot like his brother," said Selah coach Jeff Jamieson. "And I think they just work real hard. Those kids are gifted. They have God-given ability, but the other thing is they work real hard."

Jamieson added that as good as Kirby is on offense - and that's the side of the ball he'll play in college - "what scares me is on the defensive side. He'll come up and put a lick on you. He's a big, strong kid who likes contact."

Another thing Kirby enjoys is the postseason. He was having a solid freshman season when he lit up four-time defending 3A state champion Bellevue with three TDs in the state quarterfinals. He finished with 12 scoring catches in the playoffs that year, and his 22 career TDs in the playoffs are about the only Prosser receiving record Bruns (12 playoff TDs) doesn't own.

Moore said it feels like the last three years have gone by fast, and he still remembers his job as the tee boy at age 7, running onto the field after kickoffs to retrieve the kicking tee - and at Prosser, that's a busy job.

Among the many memories of state titles and incredible teams captured in photos and headlines on the walls of Tom Moore's office is a picture of Kellen and Kirby, ages 12 and 10, at the Tacoma Dome from the 1999 championship season.

"I've been looking forward to this all my life," Kirby said.

One thing he doesn't look forward to is the off-field stuff that comes with being one of the top football prospects in the state.

He hasn't had too much problem with the recruiting process itself, especially after watching Kellen go through it as well as Bruns. His biggest beef has been the constant attention from … the media? In Prosser?

"It's real different with the Internet stuff," said Kirby, estimating he gets a phone call from websites like rivals.com and scout.com every couple of days, checking in to see if he's getting closer to picking a school.

And, since almost everyone is asking, what about college? Moore has it narrowed down to Washington, Washington State, Boise State and Stanford, all of whom have made offers.

"I just want to sit back, not really think about it and have fun my senior season," Kirby said, adding that when it makes sense to make a choice, that's when he'll make it.

Like his brother, Kirby has put up plenty of jaw-dropping numbers. He's second to Bruns in all the career passing marks - 172 catches for 2,728 yards and 61 TDs.

While he won't catch Bruns in receptions (310) or yards (5,178), he is 11 behind in scoring catches. So that record should fall sometime between Week 2 and Week 5, if history is any judge.

But numbers are secondary.

"Last year's championship was mostly for the seniors," Moore said. "This year, we want to get back (to the Tacoma Dome) for ourselves."

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