Year of the Tiger 2018

Player spotlight: Brian Moraga

Ready for more

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Brian Moraga comes from a basketball family.

As a little kid, he watched football, but “didn’t really understand it.” Around middle school he started to play.

Sometime long before the Taos Tigers met Aztec this season, he figured the game out. In that one game he had “3 picks (two of them pick-6’s), two touchdowns, and one 2-point conversion.”

Moraga made a choice for his life to go this way, and he had help.

Moraga’s freshman year, he was faced with a challenge. His parents separated. Though they both remained fully supportive of him as a person and as an athlete, it ended the way of life he had known.

Right around that time, coach Abreu Jr. taught him to run. Through hours and hours of training, of hearing coach shout, “Pick up your knees!” he learned how to move forward.

Over the years, Moraga grew not only physically but also as a person. Freshman year he “looked like a piece of flatboard running,” he claims, and struggled with every loss. Football helped him grow into himself, a young man who can manage setbacks when they come and is “ready for more.”

“You know life is going to sit you down,” he said. “You gotta get back.”

Moraga learned to exceed the standard, how to set his own priorities and that he “could handle so much more,” he said. Seeing “your whole team back you up,” no matter what, together with playing for Abreu – or as Moraga puts it, “having another dad” – has made a lasting impact on him.

Moraga and Clayton Demas together recounted a favorite memory that was far from the football field itself.

One day they, together with Estevan Valerio, showed up at coach Abreu’s house unannounced. They knocked and waited to see what would happen. When coach asked them what they were up to and they responded that they were just hanging out, Abreu’s wife, Chloe, stepped in, welcoming the boys into their home.

“There’s food in the kitchen,” they remember her saying.

As family, they ate.

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