Texico head coach Mike Prokop talks to his players after practice on Wednesday about getting ready for Friday’s season opener against Bovina. Photo by Eric Kluth
By Dave Wagner
TEXICO — If the Texico Wolverines are looking for a challenge in the 2003 football season, all they need do is take a quick peek at the schedule.
The team’s first five games are on the road, and six of nine altogether. Texico does not play at home until it welcomes Hagerman on Oct. 10.
“It’s going to show us how mature we are,” coach Mike Prokop said. “Thank goodness we’ve got a bunch of kids coming back because they know how to travel.
“To me it’s a big challenge. We’re going to have to play well.”
Among the early games are trips to rivals Dexter and Clayton, and to defending Class 2A champion Tucumcari. Texico defeated the Rattlers 25-15 last October in a mid-season battle of unbeatens.
Texico opens the season Friday at Bovina.
The Wolverines return plenty of experience as they try to take the final step in Class 1A following back-to-back runnerup finishes to Fort Sumner.
They return nine starters on offense, including junior quarterback Braden Vaughan and the entire offensive line, and eight on defense. A ninth returning defensive starter, junior cornerback Tony Clements, suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament during summer basketball and may not be back for sports for the entire school year, Prokop said.
Texico compiled eight shutouts en route to an 11-1 record last season.
“There’s a lot of expectations for us, but it’s still a different team than last year,” junior guard-linebacker Logan Brown said. “We’re a close-knit team, but we’ve still got to find our own niche.”
Texico returns everyone on the defensive front except for end Landon Johnson. The Wolverines also have to replace 1,500-yard rusher Adrian Loera and Johnson at end on offense, and Loera and Clements at the cornerback positions.
“We’re trying to do the same stuff (on offense) that we’ve done in the past, but with some new twists,” Prokop said. “We just have to make the offense fit our personnel.
“Defensively, we’re pretty salty. We just hope that we can do the things that made us successful last year.”
Brown suffered a broken toe in a motorcycle accident just before the start of district play last season, and missed the final six games. That has left him hungry as the opener draws near.
“Missing those last six games, it makes you realize that you’re just one play away from maybe never playing again,” Brown said. “Bovina’s a good team; they do a lot of good things, and we’ll have our work cut out.”
Brown said he thinks the early road schedule may help the Wolverines in the long run.
“We’re going to be on the bus a lot, but I think it’ll make us a closer team,” he said. “Then when we do have our home games, we’ll be anxious to perform for our fans.”