Whittell transfers Galli and Moretti key to South Tahoe success on football field
South Tahoe seniors Peyton Galli and Caleb Moretti walked hand-in-hand with Mccallan Castles and Kody Griffis to the center of the gridiron for the coin flip as co-captains in week two.
Galli and Moretti each earned their leadership roles with big games in the opening week and also during that second week of practice.
But neither Galli nor Moretti started their football careers as Vikings. They both began playing football the 8-man way at Whittell High School in Zephyr Cove.
Moretti starts for the Vikings at middle linebacker and Galli starts at quarterback.
“Everyone talks down 8-man football like it’s an easy thing to do, but it’s not,” Moretti said Tuesday at practice. “It means a lot to start here and it’s been a lot of fun, the atmosphere is amazing.”
In his first game for South Tahoe, Moretti made two dynamic interceptions against Sparks and returned them both for touchdowns.
And Galli shredded the Railroaders’ defense for well over 200 yards and three touchdowns in the opening-night victory.
“I am surprised,” said South Tahoe head coach Louis Franklin about Moretti’s transition to the Viking program. “For Moretti, he’s a defensive guy and going from 8-man to 11-man changes a lot. Maybe I underestimated that. When Peyton says he’s processing the field, there’s only one safety in 8-man. There’s some intricacies that I’m not aware of but that’s something they shared. Not only overcoming that, but a new culture and new expectations. Coach (Phillip) Bryant does a great job over there, but programs are different. For Moretti to come in and adjust right away, and Galli, it’s a testament to what kind of kids they are. They work hard. I don’t know where we’d be without them.”
Moretti and Galli have been friends since first grade. They grew up together and were basically neighbors. They drifted apart when Galli transferred after his freshman year, but rediscovered their friendship after Moretti decided to attend South Tahoe for his senior year.
Galli went to South Tahoe because he wants to attend college in California and that will help him, and his parents, avoid costly out of state tuition fees. He can also get a head start in sports medicine that is available at South Tahoe. Galli didn’t start his freshman year for the Warriors, but took plenty of reps at quarterback.
“I’m definitely happy I came here, I love it,” said Galli, who didn’t play football his sophomore season at South Tahoe. “The campus is amazing, sports are fun, the classes, everything is great. It’s like a dream high school.”
Moretti started for three years at Whittell, but wanted a change. He said he was welcomed by the team and wanted to earn his playing time. He’s still making adjustments to playing 11-man, the biggest being reading your keys every play and not following the play and flowing to the ball.
“You’ve gotta watch keys more because there’s more people to watch,” Moretti said. “At Whittell, I could pretty much see where the ball was going and go for it. Here, there’s more schemes, more tricks and more people blocking. It’s easier to read my keys instead of the ball most of the time.”
Bryant, the fourth-year head coach at Whittell, was not surprised to see Moretti and Galli succeed at South Tahoe. He thinks, along with Franklin, that Galli might be the best quarterback in the league and Moretti was one of his best players since he stepped on the field.
“They’re two great kids and they both went over there for different reasons,” said Bryant who still stays in touch with both. “They met their specific needs. But I think it shows a lot about our program when guys from here can go play key roles over there. We have kids here that can play football regardless of whether it’s 8-man or 11-man. Caleb and Peyton are great kids. They weren’t recruited. They just felt it was the best thing for them. And we support them 100 percent.”