By Eric Butler
A long time has passed since Skip Garrett has been in a football game. And maybe Garrett’s layoff itself won’t be considered unusual as Clovis High alumni gather for Citizens Bank’s Clovis Community Football Appreciation Day tonight.
But Garrett’s last game wasn’t in the street in front of his house nor was it in the park with family on Thanksgiving — passing the time while the turkey cooked.
His most recent ballgame was while lining up at offensive guard for Rice University more than 20 years ago.
“The last time I played football was in 1981. It was against the University of Houston in the Astrodome,” said Garrett, who graduated in 1976 from CHS — where he played center and linebacker.
Garrett is among about 35 former Wildcats who have signed up to play in an alumni game that begins at 7:30 p.m. at Leon Williams Stadium.
As opposed to the basketball alumni game that’s taken place the last two years, this contest — a flag-football contest — won’t pit older alums versus more recent Clovis High graduates.
That seemingly sensible approach doesn’t jibe with Garrett, however, who says he wouldn’t even mind playing the current Wildcats.
“I think it’s a pretty good deal, but I don’t know why we can’t play a game against these new guys,” said Garrett, who is the general manager for Reynolds Nationwide Transportation office in Clovis.
“I guess (Clovis coach Eric) Roanhaus is afraid we’re gonna hurt ’em,” joked Garrett, who doesn’t know if he’ll take his traditional place on the line for this contest. “I have no idea. I’ll probably be the one sitting closest to the oxygen tank.”
The older players will get a shot at the younger Cats in a tug-of-war — part of an array of activities to raise money for the Clovis High football booster club.
Former Dallas Cowboys player Don Perkins will be present, and Roanhaus will be recognized for his induction into the National High School Hall of Fame.
Other items on the agenda include a Play Inc. football contest, games for children and refreshments. The gates open at 5:30 p.m. for the Appreciation Day activities.
Longtime Wildcats supporter Mike Mitchell is putting this event together in hopes of raising around $5,000 for the booster club.
Mitchell’s father, also named Mike, will be the oldest player out on the field — having graduated from Clovis in 1957.
“We’ll have twenty-minute halves with a running clock — and an ambulance nearby,” the younger Mitchell said.