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From the playing days of Aaron Moss through to his three sons, the Moss name has been synonymous with Skaneateles football for 35 years.
But the Moss family’s chapter with the Skaneateles Lakers is over, with Moss retiring and his youngest son, Tylar Moss, graduating this season.
For veteran college assistant coach Pete O’Connor, who has been a part of Skaneateles football for 16 years, the final image of Moss with all his sons in his last game was an indelible part of his legacy.
“Them all together sum up Aaron in terms of family first and then his football family,” O’Connor said. “Put family and football above your own wants and needs. When I saw them together outside the stadium, I knew he had emerged victorious.
Moss retired after the 2021 season after 17 years with the program. In his senior year, Skaneateles finished 21-0, winning the Class B state title for the second consecutive season, and Moss was named the 2021 National Small Schools National Coach of the Year by United Soccer. Coaches Convention on January 21. the head coach won two Section III titles during his playing career at Skaneateles before winning three New York State championships and six Section titles as a coach, compiling a career record of 246-77-22 as one of Central New York’s most successful coaches.
Ethan Pickup, captain of the team this season, said Moss left a significant impact on him and on the program that will not be forgotten after the coach’s retirement.
“He cared so much about the team,” Pickup said. “If we won a big game, he would be just as thrilled as us, if not more, celebrating with a big smile on his face.”
Moss has coached Pickup since he started playing football in elementary school while growing up with Tylar, who also captained back-to-back Skaneateles title teams.
“Every banquet I’ve been to, every time Coach talks about the team, he practically holds back tears, which shows how much he cares about the team,” Pickup said.
Moss has contributed significantly to the youth football community, said former Moss player George Ross, always attending camps, training or matches. Moss typically hosts at least two football camps each summer, as well as the annual State Champ Camp in June, open to college and high school players coming into the program.
“Coach Moss has always been involved in the football community,” Ross said. “He loved being part of all levels, whether it was in the camps, coming to watch training or a match.”
Ross, who graduated from Skaneateles in 2019 and now plays football at St. John Fisher College, said his high school coach helped him get to the college level. Moss was always willing to meet players one-on-one, which he did with Ross throughout his senior year.
“He taught me how to be a leader, both vocally and by example,” Ross said. “He instilled in me that some days are going to suck, some days are going to be a real drag.”
O’Connor played a “central role” in Moss’ teams as an assistant, Pickup said. Still, O’Connor said he never saw his coaching role “under” Moss.
“Aaron really ran a program where all the coaches had a lot of chemistry, which is part of the success we’ve had,” O’Connor said. “He was always ready to do what’s best and what’s good for the team.”
O’Connor said people think he has big shoes to fill with the Lakers chasing a hat-trick, but he doesn’t see it that way.
“For me, it’s about putting my stamp on the program and bringing my style and flair to every practice and game,” O’Connor said. “(We want to) carry on the legacy that we have established over the years and keep going, to keep the kids grounded, focused on giving their best every day so that we can be successful with the team.”
Published on February 15, 2022 at 7:40 p.m.
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