By Phil Dailey
The La Jolla High School football team is still in shock over the sudden loss of offensive line coach Luis Moya.
Moya died last Friday shortly before the team’s game at Serra High School. The cause of death, according to head coach Rey Hernandez, is still unknown.
Moya, a 1994 graduate of La Jolla High, had been an assistant coach for the Vikings for most of his adult life, which started after serving in the Marine Corps. As a player, he was a critical part of the La Jolla’s 1993 team that won the Division III CIF championship his senior season against St. Augustine.
For the players who knew him best, it was hard to fathom not having Moya around, especially after hearing the news before last week’s game.
“We really played that game for him,” senior Jackson Ping said. “We wanted to beat Serra for him; he was looking down on us. We knew he would have wanted us to go play that game and do our best.”
Moya was a tough coach, but also one who respected the players and knew what the game was really about.
“He was tough when he needed to be, but he still knew how to keep the players having fun with the sport, always enjoying it,” Ping said. “He was like a father to all of us.”
According to Hernandez, Moya was a diabetic and recently had an episode at practice that caused him to leave the field. Hernandez said he was only gone a short time and it didn’t appear to be a cause for concern.
“That’s the only type of medical concern I had seen,” Hernandez said.
Other than that one time, Hernandez isn’t sure what could have happened to cause Moya’s sudden death.
“We are just speculating, I talked to his brother (Monday night) and he didn’t say anything about an autopsy so we’ll just have to wait and hear,” Hernandez added.
As for the team, it will move forward with the season and takes on rival Mission Bay on Friday night. The Vikings started the season with six straight losses, but have recently won two in a row. A win over Mission Bay would increase the team’s chances of reaching the CIF playoffs.
Finshing the season won’t be easy on this group of high school students who enjoyed having Moya a part of their team.
“It’s gonna be tough, but we know he’s watching us from up above, we’re dedicating this season to him,” senior Kevin Lemus said.
Memorial service for Moya
There will be a viewing Friday night for Moya at Aztlan Mortuary in La Mesa from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. At 11 a.m. on Saturday there will be a memorial service at Our Lady of Angels (656 24th Street, San Diego).