Bring on the pads

Farwell High junior linebacker Rowdy Mitchell fires out of his stance during sprints. Photo by Rick White

By Dave Wagner

FARWELL — Farwell High senior Grant Gregory says football practice doesn’t really get started until he puts the pads on.
He and his Farwell teammates still have to wait two more days to start hitting.
“The first four days of practice aren’t too good,” said Gregory, a tight end and defensive end, referring to the fact that the workouts are in shorts and helmets only. “When we get into pads, it gets fun.”
Practice for fall sports in Texas started Monday.
While weather is warm as usual in early August, third-year coach Jacob Thompson said he and his staff try to take the necessary precautions with the players and keep them hydrated.
“The kids we were expecting good things out of are doing well,” he said. “We’re excited about getting (into) pads. You can only do so much (before that).”
Thompson said 35 players reported for workouts, down about seven or eight from last year. The relative lack of numbers may make it tough to field a junior varsity squad this season, he said.
“We feel if we can get 17 or 18 for our JV, I’m confident we can go play,” Thompson said.
In Texas, players can play either the varsity or JV game in a given week, but not both.
Gregory was a second-team All-District 3-1A selection at tight end and defensive back last year. The 6-foot-3, 175-pounder has been moved to defensive end this year, Thompson said, because of his tackling ability.
“I think we’ll have a pretty good team this year,” Gregory said. “Right now, we’re looking for a quarterback.”
The injury bug bit Farwell last season, and was certainly a factor in the Steers’ 4-6 finish.
“With any (Class) 1A team, you don’t have that many players to start with,” Gregory said. “So injuries are always a problem.”
Muleshoe and Bovina also started practice this week while New Mexico schools get started Monday.

Bovina — Even though they don’t yet have everyone on hand, first-year Bovina coach Kent Torbert said he’s been encouraged by the first couple of days of workouts.
“Things have gone well,” said Torbert, who spent last season as an assistant for the Mustangs under Bruce Scroggins. “We’re working on installing our passing game right now.”
Torbert said 31 players have been out so far with another dozen or so expected. But he added that most of the varsity candidates are already practicing.
“We still got sever kids and a few that are out of town,” he said. “But we have more kids at two-a-days than we had last year, so I feel good about that.”