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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Moevao, Masoli have become friends

Gazette-Times reporter

No, you’re not seeing double.

The quarterbacks for Oregon State and University of Oregon might look like each other out on the field, but Lyle Moevao and Jeremiah Masoli are definitely two different people.

There are similarities. They are both Samoan. They throw the ball on a rope. Moevao is listed at 5-foot-11, 220-pounds, Masoli at 5-11, 214.

“Lyle’s not an ugly guy, so I’m taking it as a compliment,” Masoli said with a chuckle.

They have not met in person, but Masoli and Moevao have gotten to know each other throughout the season using e-mail and other avenues to keep in touch.

Masoli first heard about Moevao when he committed to Oregon State out of El Camino College.

Masoli was intrigued. He was playing at City College of San Francisco and here was another Samoan quarterback who had played junior college and was headed to the Pacific-10 Conference.

Meanwhile, Moevao noticed Masoli.

“I heard about another junior college quarterback, a Samoan, the same size as me getting recruited to some Oregon schools,” Moevao said. “So I was kind of watching and seeing how that went as well, but we didn’t get into contact until a few weeks into the season.”

Their mothers got in touch, e-mails were exchanged and friendships were formed.

Masoli and Moevao have been talking for most of the season.

“Last weekend we were talking about the Arizona game and how crazy that was with that comeback,” Masoli said. “I thought they were doomed. That was a great comeback for them. (But) we don’t always talk about football. We talk about other things. We’re just friends.”

Football does tend to be a popular topic of conversation, however.

“We’ve kind of just been talking lately about who’s hurting.,” Moevao said. “He’s been asking me if (Jacquizz Rodgers) is all right, if my shoulder’s OK. Just stuff like that. It’s not really being about trying to get the down-low about what the defense is running and stuff like that.

“We’re more concerned about each other rather than just the game because overall, we’re still going to know each other after all this is said and done. We know we still have to do one thing and that’s compete, but at the same time we want to make sure that sportsmanship is all a part of this as well.”

The Civil War talk has stayed, well, civil.

“He hasn’t really said too much about the bowl game because we’ve still got one game to play and even though we know what’s at stake, we still have to compete,” Moevao said. “When it comes to being on the field, it’s just another game and we’ve got to go out there and perform against each other.”

They are two of the four Samoan starting quarterbacks in the Pac-10 this year. Tavita Pritchard plays for Stanford and Willie Tuitama leads Arizona.

It’s a fact not lost on Masoli and Moevao.

“For me personally, it’s great to line up against some Samoan quarterbacks,” Masoli said. “It’s great for our community. It gives a lot of hope to kids across the nation, telling them they don’t have to be a lineman.”

The two quarterbacks will get to talk in person after the game. It’s a moment both players are looking forward to, win or lose.

“I think just meeting him and being able to put a face with the name is definitely important and so I think it would be cool for us to meet and be able to congratulate each other on a good season so far,” Moevao said.

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