Prosser passing combo rewriting state records
These two? Really? This is the best high-school pass-and-catch combination in the state? Maybe the best in state history? They certainly don't fit...
Special to The Seattle Times
PROSSER — These two? Really?
This is the best high-school pass-and-catch combination in the state? Maybe the best in state history?
They certainly don't fit the mold of star quarterback or receiver. Neither is a broad-shouldered, 6-foot-4 recruiter's dream. They look like — well, high-school kids.
But undersized or not, these kids can play.
Kellen Moore, a 6-1, 180-pound senior quarterback, and Cody Bruns, a 5-11, 155-pound junior wide receiver, are rewriting state records, recruiting measurables be damned.
Kellen Moore and Bruns are the poster boys for an undersized juggernaut.
Only five players on the Mustangs' roster are listed at 200 pounds or more, but Saturday, the Mustangs from the Yakima Valley will take a 12-0 record and a No. 30 national ranking into the Class 2A semifinals at the Tacoma Dome.
Bothell (11-1) vs. Edmonds-Woodway (12-0), Saturday, 7 p.m., Tacoma Dome.
Oak Harbor (11-1) vs. Gonzaga Prep (11-1), Saturday, 1 p.m., Albi Stadium (Spokane).
Bellevue (12-0) vs. Auburn (12-0), Friday, 7 p.m., Tacoma Dome
Kennedy (12-0) vs. Kamiakin (11-1), Saturday, 10 a.m., Lampson Field (Kennewick).
Prosser (12-0) vs. Centralia (11-1), Saturday, 4 p.m., Tacoma Dome.
Lynden (11-1) vs. Tumwater (11-1), Friday, 4 p.m., Tacoma Dome.
Montesano (11-1) vs. Connell (12-0), Saturday, 4 p.m., Lampson Field (Kennewick).
Meridian (12-0) vs. Royal (12-1), Saturday, 1 p.m., Lampson Field (Kennewick).
Toutle Lake (12-0) vs. Asotin (8-3), Saturday, 4 p.m., Edgar Brown Stadium (Pasco).
Life Christian (11-2) vs. La Salle (12-0), Saturday, 1 p.m., Edgar Brown Stadium (Pasco).
Touchet (7-4) vs. Lummi (10-1), Saturday, 1 p.m., Tacoma Dome.
Pateros (9-3) vs. St. John-Endicott (11-1), Saturday, 4 p.m., Albi Stadium (Spokane).
By beating Centralia (11-1), Prosser can advance to a second consecutive state-championship game. The Mustangs, a 3A team last year, advanced to the title game before losing to Ferndale.
In street clothes, Moore and Bruns might not turn heads, but when they pull on their Nos. 11 and 7 jerseys, opposing defenses take notice.
"They're the best combo in the history of this state by a long shot," said Bellevue coach Butch Goncharoff, whose team lost to Prosser in last year's quarterfinals, ending a run of four state titles. "I don't care if it's 2A or 3A, or anything else, those guys are just outstanding."
Making their marks
To get an idea of just how outstanding, take a look at the state record books.
In 2005, Moore set state records with 317 completions, 4,600 yards and 66 touchdowns. This year, with two potential games remaining, he is 269 of 362 for 3,969 yards and 62 touchdowns, with only five interceptions. His 74.3 completion percentage is just below Tim Couch's national record of 75.1.
Moore, who calls most of the plays in Prosser's no-huddle offense, also owns the state's career touchdown record with 168, and his 769 career completions are 10 short of the record.
Not to be outdone by his quarterback and close friend, Bruns is making his mark as well.
His 1,735 yards and 25 touchdowns this season are state receiving records, as are his 50 career touchdowns. He is already third on the career list with 3,481 yards, and fourth in career receptions (205).
Their numbers are absurd, like something out of a video game. Almost as ridiculous is how easily they rack up those numbers.
Moore's left-handed passes are perfect spirals that drop into the hands of Bruns as he pulls away from a defensive back. How does Bruns get so open? And how does Moore flick a 50-yard pass so effortlessly?
As outrageous as their numbers are, however, Moore and Bruns care more about winning.
Neither Kellen Moore nor Bruns can recall their stats or records they've broken without asking their coach, Kellen's father Tom Moore, to look it up on a computer.
"The main goal for everyone is to win a state championship," said Kellen Moore, who will play for Boise State next year. "Those records are just the product of our offense."
Prosser's playoff decoy
In one of the most important games of his high-school career — last week's 14-7 quarterfinal win over second-ranked Archbishop Murphy — Moore was a pedestrian 12 for 18 for 143 yards and one touchdown. And on one of the biggest plays of his career, Cody Bruns was a decoy.
And they're both fine with that, because Prosser is still playing.
Moore, who split open the thumb on his throwing hand in practice the day before, played Saturday with stitches and a glove. Adding to the Mustangs' woes were four first-half fumbles that put them somewhere they hadn't been this season — behind in the fourth quarter.
Moore led Prosser on a game-winning drive. And on a 19-yard touchdown pass to Kirby Moore, Kellen's younger brother, Bruns made one of his biggest contributions of the season without touching the ball.
"A lot of the credit on that play has to go to Cody," said Tom Moore. "Both safeties and a linebacker went with him. When the ball was snapped, I knew the ball was going to Kirby. I knew they would collapse on Cody, and when they did, Kirby was one-on-one with a corner[back]."
Bruns didn't mind.
"As long as one of us caught it, I don't really care who it is," he said. "It was just nice to get the win so we can keep playing."
Keep playing. That's something Bruns didn't get to do after last year's quarterfinal win over Bellevue. An ankle injury in the third quarter of that game kept him out of the semifinal and final.
Missing those games motivated Bruns.
Throughout the summer, Bruns and both Moore brothers went to Art Fiker Stadium on weekends for extra practice — something Bruns and Kellen Moore started doing when Bruns was in eighth grade.
"That was tough watching those last two games," he said. "This offseason, it was always in the back of my mind and making me want to work harder to come back and be even better."
Next season's decision
After a breakthrough sophomore year, Bruns has been even better. And despite the likelihood of breaking more records next season, Bruns may not get that chance.
In addition to being the Mustangs' leading receiver, he is also the backup quarterback. Since his freshman year, the plan has been for Bruns to take over when Kellen Moore graduates.
That switch would likely cost him two more records. He is 536 yards and 17 receptions short of the career marks of 4,017 yards and 222 catches. (Life Christian senior Tyler Hjelseth has 218 receptions heading into the Class B-11 semifinals.)
A position switch for Bruns next year isn't definite, however.
The emergence of sophomore quarterback Jordan Durbin, who has impressed Tom Moore in practice and in mop-up duty this year, might allow the Mustangs to keep Bruns at receiver.
"That's a nice dilemma we have for next year," said Tom Moore. "We've got a sophomore quarterback who is outstanding and we have Cody."
If Bruns moves to quarterback, the coach plans to change the offense to capitalize on Bruns' speed. Moore says his team would run a spread option attack similar to the offense used by West Virginia.
The fact that Bruns excels at multiple positions and in multiple sports — he started on the basketball team as a freshman point guard — is of little surprise to longtime Prosser fans. Cody's father, Bucky Bruns, was a star quarterback and basketball player for the Mustangs in the late 1960s and went on to play football at Idaho.
Yet for all of his athleticism, Bruns is sure to hear the same things this spring that Moore did last year while being recruited:
You're too small.
"Yeah, I hear it sometimes," Bruns said. "Both of us have heard that. It kind of helps a little. You feel like the underdog and you want to go out there and prove yourself."
Bruns is being recruited by Boise State, and Moore loves the idea of throwing to his friend at the next level. Idaho also has shown interest.
Both make up for what they lack in size with competitive fire. While their personalities are different — Moore is more reserved and Bruns more outgoing — both hate to lose.
"We're competitive in anything we do" said Bruns. "It can be Monopoly, or pingpong, or video games, and it gets pretty intense."
Tom Moore, who attended the USC combine with Kellen in April, is confident that Bruns will be a good college player.
"Kellen was down there throwing to all of the big-name, Division I players, and I thought Bruns was as good as any of them and better than most of them. He looks like a college receiver running routes, he's got great hands, and he's faster than people realize."
Kellen Moore knows all too well what Bruns will go through as the recruiting process heats up. No matter how big the numbers, some recruiters will be hung up on size.
"It's something you can't really worry or stress about," said Moore. "There's not really anything you can do about size. We're not going to work out harder and grow a few inches. I think Cody understands the situation, and he'll be fine."
For now, the undersized duo from Prosser will keep playing catch, keep setting records and keep chasing a state title.
These two. Really.
When vice president of Sub Pop Records Megan Jasper isn't running things at the office, she's working in her garden at her West Seattle home where she and her husband Brian spend time relaxing.