Clovis senior Ben Teconchuk’s combination of sprinter’s speed and sure hands makes him a deep threat for the Wildcats. Photo by Eric Kluth
By Rick White
Former Philadelphia Eagles coach Buddy Ryan once cut a wide receiver because “all he does is catch touchdowns.”
Cris Carter went on to have a Hall-of-Fame type career with the Minnesota Vikings.
Ryan, the surly architect of the “46” defense with the Archie Bunker tact, probably wouldn’t think too much of Clovis senior Ben Teconchuk either because all he does is score touchdowns.
An accomplished sprinter, Teconchuk polished his receiving skills this summer in a 7-on-7 passing league and is now one of the top playmakers on a Wildcats team that is averaging 30 points a game.
The 6-foot-1, 170-pound Teconchuk has made the most of his nine catches this season, turning six into touchdowns, including a 37-yard, over-the-shoulder grab in last week’s 42-6 win over Goddard.
The amiable son of an Air Force serviceman and a Korean mother, Teconchuk admitted fear is his motivating factor in his breakout season. Fear of dropping the ball. Fear of getting caught from behind. Fear of being chastized during film sessions.
“Mostly I’m scared of dropping it because I don’t want to get chewed out by coach,” Teconchuk said of head coach Eric Roanhaus. “He chewed me out a lot last year.”
Junior quarterback John Props said Teconchuk makes his job easy.
“All I have to do is put the ball up there, and Ben will go get it,” Props said.
Clovis assistant coach Darren Kelley, Teconchuk’s position coach, said maturity is the main reason his star receiver is keeping opponents up at night.
“A lot of it has to do with being a senior,” Kelley said. “He’s figured out how to work hard.”
Teconchuk spent the summer working with senior Ryan Denton, the returning starter at quarterback, and the two had developed good chemistry.
But Denton’s season ended after one game because of recurring concussions, forcing Teconchuk to adjust to a new quarterback. It didn’t take long.
In their first game working together, Props and Teconchuk hooked up for a 40-yard score in a 43-0 win over Roswell.
Teconchuk, who anchored Clovis’ state champion 400-meter relay team last spring, is providing the perfect complement to the Wildcats’ running game. He’s averaging 31.7 yards per catch.
Kelley said Teconchuk has earned the confidence of the coaching staff with his sure hands and sprinter’s speed.
“He doesn’t drop too many, and he gets to the ball,” Kelley said. “The nice thing is he can run and CATCH the ball. We’ve had people here before who could catch the ball but couldn’t run out of sight in a day.”
Kelley, who also doubles as track coach, said Teconchuk is “as fast as he needs to be.”
“Honestly, I think I can get by anybody,” Teconchuk said.
Teconchuk gives due credit to his quarterback for his success.
“John has stepped up,” Teconchuk said. “He puts the ball where it needs to be and puts me in the end zone.”
And that’s something happening frequently this fall for the Wildcats, who are 4-2 heading into district play.