Mountain View QB has incredible senior season after two years on JV
VANCOUVER — There is a sign in the head coach’s office that sums up this Mountain View football season as a whole to this point, and, in particular, the season of starting quarterback Garrett Moen.
“E + R = O”
It stands for event plus response equals outcome.
In this case, the event was Week 1 of this season. The Thunder had gone nearly the length of the field in about a minute and were just a few yards away from taking a late lead against rival Union.
Then the fumble. The snap to the quarterback went awry. Union recovered. Union won.
Mountain View has not lost since, reeling off 11 wins in a row, and the Thunder are in the Class 3A state semifinals.
The response from the quarterback, the first-year starting quarterback?
Oh, all Moen did was put up one of the best seasons in school history with more than 2,500 yards passing and 24 touchdowns, plus more than 600 yards rushing with nine more scores.
That is an outcome for all of the Thunder to celebrate.
“It was definitely a heartbreaker,” Moen said of that Week 1 loss. “We played a really good game all throughout. Just knowing we had the right formula, we had to stick it out and get some wins.”
Some wins turned out to be school-record number of wins. The Thunder hope to add to that record Saturday when they travel to face O’Dea in a semifinal game at 2 p.m. Saturday at Skyline High School in Sammamish.
Leading that offense will be Moen, the Class 3A Greater St. Helens League’s co-Player of the Year.
It has been an amazing run for this senior who was not even sure he would be the starting quarterback.
At 5-feet, 5-inches, he is not anyone’s typical quarterback. But every coach would want every player to have Moen’s competitiveness, ability, intelligence and attitude.
Early on in his career at Mountain View, he learned every position on offense. All quarterbacks should know where everyone is going to be, of course, but for Moen it was also a back-up plan in case he was not the quarterback. He could play slot receiver or one of the running back positions.
“I always wanted to play quarterback,” he said.
Still, back in June, he was taking some reps as a receiver, just in case.
“There’s that competitiveness. ‘Let me play. I can play that position, or I can play that position. Let me get on the field,’” Mountain View coach Adam Mathieson recalled.
It turned out, Moen was the best player at his chosen position. The coaches named Moen the starting quarterback two weeks before August practice started.
“I was excited and definitely relieved,” Moen said. “I had worked really hard for it. I was pretty much excited to get after it.”
What followed was those 11 wins in 12 games and this trip to the semifinals, plus the individual co-POY honor, which he shared with teammate Jack Mertens.
“The grind pays off,” Moen said.
This is Mathieson’s 11th season as head coach and Moen is his 11th starting varsity quarterback.
“He’s the most experienced quarterback we’ve ever had which gave us confidence,” Mathieson said.
Wait, what? The most experienced? This is his first year on varsity.
“Moen is the first one who has played quarterback from start-to-finish for four years,” Mathieson explained.
The first year was on the freshman team and the next two on junior varsity.
“He had played 30 games in our offense,” Mathieson said.
It is Moen’s dedication outside of the spotlight for so many years that Mathieson wants to highlight now.
“It is not easy in today’s sports landscape to grind away on the freshman team and then the JV team for two years before getting a chance to be the varsity starter,” Mathieson said. “He knew he would be ready and what he was capable of because he put in the effort along the way. That, to me, is so special. I love him, appreciate him more than he knows, and hope I get to coach him for another week.”
From Week 2 through Week 11, the Thunder averaged 52.4 points per game.
Even in Week 12, when the offense was slowed by a strong Rainier Beach defense, Moen and the Thunder had a response when needed.
Leading 7-6, the Thunder got the ball with 5:38 left in the game. Rainier Beach never saw the ball again.
“Just keep grinding,” Moen told his teammates. “They have my back, and I have their back. Just keep running, getting first downs, and let the clock bleed.”
Time was won Mountain View side, and the Thunder faced one more third down.
“We get the yards, we win this game,” Moen said.
The Thunder converted, and the Thunder went into Victory Formation for one glorious snap in their final home game of the season.
“It was just unreal,” Moen said. “All the emotions starting coming out. I know I was crying. A few other guys were crying. A bunch of hugging.”
Mountain View is back in the semifinals for the first time since 2002.
“That just made this year that much more fun,” Moen said. “I get the opportunity to go out and have fun with these guys. Living it up. High school quarterback. Senior year. Best year of my life so far.”
A year that took years to arrive, responding to various events the only way Garrett Moen knew how to respond — by grinding away and always believing he could do this.