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Updated Apr 30, 2015 - 2:06 pm

Buckeye football turning the corner under new coach Moore

When Bobby Barnes left his post as the long-time head football coach at Buckeye High School, many wondered if the Hawks would be able to find a suitable replacement.

It wasn’t long before that man was found – Kelley Moore.

Moore continued his cross-town journey that began at Glendale Independence, went to Mesa High for seven years and now back to the west Valley.

The team struggled at first as Moore brought the players through spring practice, but seemed to be going well when the Hawks participated in the Arizona Football Coaches Association seven-on-seven passing competition on Saturday (June 28) at the Surprise Stadium complex.

“There is always an adjustment for the kids when a change like this is made,’’ said Moore, who led Mesa to the Division I state championship game in 2009. “We have started to work more efficiently. There were some things they were not used to, but now they are all dialed in and they are working hard. The last two or three weeks, their attitude has turned for the better.’’

Buckeye had players in the passing competition as well as in the Big Man strength event. Moore said he can see the players rounding themselves into a capable, competitive group.

The quarterback likely will be junior Art Bojorquez. He appears to have a strong arm, and Moore said he is making progress on his progressions of receivers.

Moore was a bit disappointed to lose one of his better athletes, Jordan Banister, a receiver-cornerback. The senior to be, who also was an outstanding long jumper, has moved to Oregon.

“We’re going to have to fill that hole, but I am confident that we can find someone who can make it happen,’’ Moore said.

The players have been picking up the pace in the weight room.

“I coached in the east Valley, and I want us to bring an east Valley-type of intensity,’’ Moore said.

The learning curve is continuing, and Moore has seen improvement in terms of character and teamwork.

“What are you going to do if things go bad, because they probably are going to do that once in awhile,’’ Moore said. “Will you be able to keep your composure? That’s what we did here (Surprise) in a couple of our games. We were able to bounce back. A few weeks ago, that might not have happened. But that has changed. They are ready to get after it. They have the “want-to.’ ’’




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