Oregon defensive end Garret Moser (51) eyes the Winnebago quarterback during their 2017 game. Moser missed most of last season after suffering a left knee injury in Week 4 against Byron, but is eager to get back on the field this fall. (Photo by Earleen Hinton)
Oregon defensive end Garret Moser (51) eyes the Winnebago quarterback during their 2017 game. Moser missed most of last season after suffering a left knee injury in Week 4 against Byron, but is eager to get back on the field this fall. (Photo by Earleen Hinton)

There was no lounging by the pool this summer for Oregon two-way senior starter Garret Moser.

He worked in his family farming business near Mount Morris and Leaf River, as well as for another farmer in the area, Tim Leary. He tended to cattle and hoisted thousands of bales of hay onto racks, just to name a few of his duties.

He still managed to make it to the majority of the Hawks’ summer football activities, be it camp or weightlifting. When practice began Monday for the upcoming season, it was almost like a break in the action for the 5-foot-8, 200-pound Moser.

“I am exhausted,” Moser said with a smile after Tuesday morning’s Oregon football practice.

Moser’s work ethic is something Oregon football coach Nick Schneiderman will never call into question.

“He’s just a hard-nosed kid,” Schneiderman said. “We sometimes call him a throwback because he is a farm boy. He calls me up and says, ‘Coach, I can’t make it to weights because I’m baling hay until 8 o’clock. I’ve got to get it out of the field because the rain’s coming in.’

“A kid like that who calls me up because he’s baling hay, I know he’s working his tail off. I don’t second-guess what he says. He’s a quality kid, and he’s going to be a great football player for us this year.”

Moser is entering his third year on the varsity. As a sophomore, he started at offensive guard.

A year ago, he returned to guard and also started the first three games at defensive end. For a Week 4 game at Byron, however, he was switched to linebacker, and that didn’t go so well.

In the second quarter, he was chasing a Tigers ballcarrier when he suffered a horrific injury to his left knee.

“I was just running, they went to get around me, my leg kind of got stuck and it just snapped,” Moser said.

He tore the anterior cruciate ligament, medial collateral ligament and meniscus in his left knee, underwent surgery shortly after that, and missed not only the rest of football season, but all of wrestling season as well.

“It was tough because not only did I have sports going on, we had a lot of things going on with the farm,” Moser said. “It was during homecoming, so it's tough to sit at home while your friends were out having fun at school events. It was just a tough period of time.”

A messed up knee, however, didn’t keep Moser completely away from his farm duties.

“I did bale hay, but I sat in the tractor and watched dad stack the hay,” Moser said. ‘We switched spots for a while.”

Now healthy after a long rehab stint at Athletico Physical Therapy in Oregon, Moser is eager to get his senior season of football underway. On defense, he is slated for a return to defensive end, but would not resist a move to linebacker, despite what happened in the Byron game.

“They’re both fun spots,” Moser said. “I guess whatever spot they want me to play and whatever spot I can help the team out at, I’ll give 110 percent no matter what.”

Moser is particularly excited about offense, where he is moving from guard to fullback, with a chance to carry the football for the first time in his career.

“I’m fired up. I’m ready to go,” Moser said. “That’s something I’ve never really had a chance to do, but this year I’m amped up for that.”

The Hawks won one game in 2017, then three in 2018. Moser thinks that upward trend can continue, in part due to the camaraderie the Hawks have.

“We all seem to get along great, and it’s always a fun time at practice,” Moser said. “We’ve been coming together as a group, where in the past, I don’t think we did that as often. I think the sophomores and juniors are stepping up their games, and we need everybody to step up. I think this could be a great season.”

Did you know?

• The Hawks have missed the playoffs 5 consecutive years, their longest streak since a 16-year drought from 1983 to 1998.