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Athlete of the Week: Moreno ’17 fuels game-saving rally over Bryant in season opener

Five-touchdown performance proves pivotal in Bears’ comeback win last weekend

After a grueling pre-season filled to the brim with wind sprints, play analyses, two-a-day practices and hours in the film room, the men’s football team finally took to the field Saturday against Bryant ready to put it all to the test. Yet just a quarter in, the Bears (1-0) found themselves down 21-0.

But the Bears’ co-captain and starting quarterback Kyle Moreno ’17 was not ready to let the game slip away. Despite it being only his first official start, Moreno had a career-defining performance. Over the next three quarters, he threw for three touchdowns and ran for two more to power Bruno to a storybook comeback versus the Bulldogs. In the air, the California native completed 16-of-29 passes for 224 yards and no interceptions.

For his refusal to lie down and critical role in Bruno’s 35-27 win over Bryant, Moreno has been named The Herald’s Athlete of the Week.

Herald: What was going through your head after the first quarter, being down 21-0?

Moreno: I think we were all on the same page. We just needed to take it one drive at a time, one play at a time. We would have obviously wanted to start better than we did, but we knew that our job on offense was to keep their defense on the field and control the ball. That was really our mentality.

When did you start to see the tides turning versus the Bulldogs?

After the second touchdown to make it 21-14 and headed into halftime, I think the feeling in the locker room was that even though we were down, we were in control. We knew we were about to have a much better second half than we did first half, so halftime was really when we began to feel more comfortable.

You had all five of the team’s touchdowns in the win. How did you feel after you realized what you had accomplished?

Of course, individually, it was my first start, and I was excited to play well. My teammates voted me captain, and I wanted to live up to that. It was one of the biggest honors I have ever received in my life, so just to show them that they made a good choice was big. And I can’t say more about what a good job they did. In football, there is a lot that goes on that isn’t seen, that is not written in articles: the O-line blocking, the receivers getting open, the coaches calling great plays. There’s a lot of work that went into all that. Of course having success helps my confidence, but what gives me confidence even more is just the way the guys fought.

How has preseason prepared the team?

We were fortunate to have a lot of guys stay in Providence this summer, making some huge gains in the weight room and conditioning. The coaches put us through a lot in camp. I wouldn’t say it was the most fun, but it prepares you for the game. Guys were able to stay healthy, and also we have a great defense, who really gives us some hard, difficult, crazy looks that we might not even see with other teams. It really prepares us for the worst — which is good. It’s tough in practice, but everyone knows it helps once we get into games.

Taking a step back, how did you get your start playing football?

I started playing flag football when I was seven, and I started playing tackle when I was nine. My dad was a football player and football coach. My uncle was a high school coach. I think my family drew me to the sport. I always had fun, and I grew up watching the NFL as a big 49ers fan. It was always a sport that I loved. I played a lot of other sports, but football was always the main one, and I think that had a lot to do with my family.

“Thru the wall.” Can you talk about that motto?

“Thru the wall” is something we adopted during the start of winter workouts. It just means that every single day you need to go “thru the wall” of mediocrity, tiredness, whatever it is. We are just trying to break through some habits that held us back in prior years and just bring it every single day.

What does this win mean for the team moving forward?

It felt really good to get the win to start off the season. We go through a long camp, and we made it through healthy, which is huge. And to get the win, especially the way we did, was awesome. Going forward we have hard evidence that we can come back if we need to. As far as games go, we are not looking at weeks down the road; we just look at it one week at a time. Our motto along with “thru the wall” is to each week be “1-0.” It doesn’t matter if we won or lost before. Every week is a new week. I think the sky is the limit for this team.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.


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