Dueling 23s: Desert Hills, Crimson Cliffs 4A state championship featured true civil war for Mooy family

ST. GEORGE — Football teams are often called brotherhoods, but it’s rare when a game will actually pit siblings against each other.

Yet that was exactly the case last Friday night when Desert Hills won the 4A state championship, 30-14, against Crimson Cliffs at Greater Zion Stadium.

On Crimson’s defense, senior nose guard Beau Mooy lined up with the Mustangs and chased Thunder players around the field.

On Desert Hills’ special teams, sophomore long snapper Broc Mooy helped kicker Xander Jones make three extra points and a 33-yard field goal in the Thunder’s victory.

Both players wore jersey No. 23 this year.

The Mooy family at home in Little Valley with the Thunder’s Broc and the Mustang’s Beau in the middle, St. George, Utah, Nov. 15, 2022 | Photo by E. George Goold, St. George News

St. George News visited with the Mooy family at their home in Little Valley Tuesday evening to get all the details.

Beau explained that when the family first moved to St. George from Riverton in 2019, their home was located in the boundaries of newly opened Crimson Cliffs High School.

“Me and my older sisters went to Crimson,” Beau said. “I played football my freshman and sophomore years.”

Beau is also active in musical theater and he didn’t play football as a junior so he could participate in more performances.

“Then I wanted to play football this year for the senior year high school experience,” he added.

Broc started in a Crimson Cliffs intermediate school, but then the Mooys moved to their current home in Little Valley, which is within Desert Hills’ boundaries.

“I tried one semester at Crimson Cliffs, then I transferred,” Broc said. “I just had more friends at Desert Hills.”

Needless to say, being brothers, the Mustangs/Thunder rivalry was a big topic of conversation at the Mooy family dinner table.

“Ever since our schedule came out, we’ve all been talking crap, this whole season, saying who’s going to win,” Broc said. “He got the first one on us, and then we came back with it.”

He was referring to the first matchup between the rivals this year, Sept. 2, in the opening game of Region 10 play. Crimson Cliffs won 21-14 at Desert Hills that night, the first-ever Mustangs gridiron victory over the Thunder.

“Naturally Broc is the more trash talking person out of us two,” Beau said. “Broc loves to talk crap, and so does the whole Desert Hills team. And Crimson, we’re not really about that. I think it represents our two teams well, our two personalities.”

Then the rematch came last Friday night, this time for all the marbles.

Desert Hills long snapper Broc Mooy (left) and his brother Crimson Cliffs defensive lineman Beau Mooy (right) with family in a game earlier this year, St. George, Utah, Nov. 17, 2022 | Photo by Dan Mooy for St. George News

Father of the clan Dan Mooy said it was a unique family experience at Greater Zion Stadium. He and wife Alicia Mooy attended the championship game along with Beau and Broc’s four younger brothers.

“Alicia and I talked about making one of those shirts, cut half and half with each team, but we weren’t able to,” Dan said. “We sat on the Desert Hills side during the first half, and wanted to move to the Crimson side for the second half, but it was too crowded so we stayed.”

He added that he cheered for both teams and both sons during the championship. Alicia, a nurse by profession, said she just focused on her usual issue when she goes to football games.

“My biggest problem is I don’t want them to get hurt. That’s my biggest concern,” Alicia said. “I just watch to make sure no one gets hurt on the field.”

With Beau on the defensive line and Broc on special teams, the game played out so the Mooy brothers never actually lined up against one another on the same play during the championship.

Which is probably a good thing, for the sake of their physical well-being.

“There’s definitely a level of wanting to go up against the other, prove yourself,” Beau said. “If Broc was on the other side of the field, naturally I would have, kind of, targeted him just so I can use it as bragging rights later.”

When Beau was debating about coming back for his senior year, Broc said, they decided one of the reasons to do it would be for the opportunity to play against each other.

“With both of us getting into football at the same time, I’ve always wanted to play with him or against him, it’s just something I wanted to do,” Broc said.

He agreed, however, that it was easier on the nerves during the championship game that he didn’t have to battle Beau on the field.

“I think if we did play each other in the game, we’d be more nervous,” Broc said. “Whoever beat each other, so what, get bragging rights. But you know I came out with it at the end of the day.”

Dan Mooy recounted a story about the brothers indicating their rivalry goes way beyond the football field.

“One day in the neighborhood, Beau was driving a golf cart,” Dan said. “Broc was standing in the middle of the street with his friends. Beau was heading right for Broc, kind of playing chicken.”

Broc refused to give ground to his brother.

“At the last second, Broc jumped out of the way,” Dan Mooy said. “Beau also swerved the golf cart in the same direction, and hit Broc and broke both of his legs. He ran him over with a golf cart.”

Broc endured five surgeries after the accident and nearly lost his left leg on the operating table.

Mooy brothers Broc (left) and Beau (right) clown around at home in Little Valley, St. George, Utah, Nov. 15, 2022 | Photo by E. George Goold, St. George News

“After that I thought he would never play football again,” Dan said. “That was a long way back. Ironically before the accident, Broc used to run funny. I said during the championship game that he runs better now after his legs were broken than before.”

Fortunately, Broc was able to come back from the accident and is part of a sophomore class at Desert Hills that is deep, talented and filled with potential future college players. It’s a very good bet that he will be playing for the Thunder in another state championship game before he graduates.

His brother Beau will have moved on to college by then and it might be difficult to find something the brothers can compete over when he’s gone.

“They’ll compete for girls,” Dan Mooy joked.

Beau is closer to the end of his high school experience than Broc and is a little more thoughtful about the end of his football days with his brother.

“Now that football is over we have our individual lives,” Beau said. “Football really brought us together this season. Hopefully, we’ll be able to continue that relationship when it’s over.”

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