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Special teams coach uses behavioral science, helps create ‘Bomb Squad’
December 12, 2022
With three decorated athletes and their coach, the “Bomb Squad” has kicked their way into the Westside’s and Nebraska’s record books.
The trio of seniors, long snapper Will Depooter, holder Marty Mormino and kicker Tristan Alvano, are mentored by special team coach Garet Moravec. Together, they formed the Bomb squad back in 2018.
Moravec, who coached high school in Virginia, has experience in shaping kickers. When he came to Westside he was already used to creating all-state kickers. With a background in behavioral science and technology he has been able to create gamification. Gamification is creating a game out of practice and making it fun, to help engage and keep the players interested in practice.
“I created games to do in practice so the guys can stay engaged the whole practice,” Moravec said. “We are playing a game against each other and are in the right environment with boundaries that is really good for producing good kickers.”
Having a good practice structure helped the squad stay focused and complete their tasks. Moravec was not surprised that Trsitan was able to help win the state championship.
“My methods are proven to work again in another state championship,” Moravec said.
Morvaec expressed that the nickname is there because it gets people excited when they hear the name and explains what the Bomb Squad does. DePooter agrees with Moravec and thinks the name is from the long kicks of Alvano.
“It is because we all help Tristan kick bombs,” DePooter said.
During the post season of the 2022 Class A state football, Alvano set the Westside school record for longest field goal with 57-yards. He also holds the state record for most points scored in a season by a kicker with 118, as well as holding record of field goals in a career which is 27 and in a single season 16 which he also holds.
For Alvano, kicking long field goals are nothing new and have become routine for him and because of that he is tied with most field goals in a state game with five made field goals.
After the state winning field goal, Moravec expressed how Alvano celebrated like a soccer player and not a football player.
“When he kicked the winning field goal he celebrated like a soccer player and ran away from his teammates, in football you run to your teammates,” Moravec said.
With this record-setting performance, many wonder what is next for Alvano. With offers and interests from Boston College, Nebraska, Iowa, Oklahoma and many more, he has a lot of opportunities that await him.
With many people interested in helping him decide where to go for the next four years Moravec thinks it’s best to let his heart decide where he wants to go.
“Don’t listen to me, I said. If you follow us it may not be in your best interest unless your heart aligns with it,” Moravec said.
Moravec reflects on one of his proudest moments as a coach when he saw the bomb squad teaching newer kickers.
“When they took them under their wings, I remember that specific day because they wanted to help them become better kickers and not make it all about them,” Moravec said.
With many years to come, Moravec is not done with his work at Westside. With junior Will Baurly and many underclassmen working, hehopes to continue the legacy of the Bomb Squad.