Football: Westlake quarterback Justin Moore gives up football [Updated]
In a stunning development for the Westlake Village Westlake football program, Coach Jim Benkert said Tuesday that junior quarterback Justin Moore, the Northern Division player of the year, has decided to quit the sport and will transfer to Simi Valley Royal.
"He's made a decision not to play, that it wasn't in his path, and I support him," Benkert said.
Moore, who was the quarterback when Westlake won two Northern Division championships during his three years with the Warriors, checked out of Westlake on Tuesday to enroll at Royal, which is closer to his home.
He told the Daily News, "This is not a random, emotional decision. It's something I've thought through 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."
The team's academic advisor, Christian Harrison, a history teacher at Westlake, said, "He just decided he doesn't want to play football anymore. Clearly, he has other priorities."
Moore passed for 2,483 yards and ran for 1,099 yards in helping Westlake to a 14-1 record. As a freshman, he came off the bench in the Northern Division final because of an injury to the starting quarterback and led Westlake to victory.
"It seemed like his heart wasn't into it," Harrison said. "I don't understand it. It breaks my heart. He's an extraordinary talent. He was a role model for all our kids. Football wasn't what he wants to do."
Westlake has several quarterbacks in the program capable of taking over for Moore, but his versatility and leadership skills will be missed.
-- Eric Sondheimer