By Rick White: CNJ managing editor
Everything about Clovis High junior tight end Chris Finch is huge, from his octopus-sticky hands that hungrily envelop passes thrown his way to his still-growing 6-foot-4 frame to his ever-present smile.
He also has a big future in football, Wildcat coaches say.
“He’s only going to get better,” Clovis assistant coach Darren Kelley said. “He’s a big, strong kid who if he puts in the time in the weight room could be a Division I player.”
It was Finch who helped end an embarrassing two-game, home shutout streak by snaring an 11-yard touchdown pass from quarterback John Props for in the second quarter of last week’s 28-21 win over Rio Rancho.
“That was pretty special,” said Finch, who said he knew he was going to score when quarterback John Props called “63 pop pass” in the huddle on the third-down play.
It wasn’t an easy catch as Finch had to twist his body like an aerobics instructor to latch on to a bullet-like pass from Props.
“When I looked back I saw the ball and had to turn and jump,” said Finch, who has five catches for 47 yards this season. “I knew I’d catch it.”
Props said having a big target like Finch makes his job easier.
“When I throw him the ball, I’ll know he’ll catch it,” Props said.
A running back and defensive end last season on the junior varsity, Finch is still learning to play tight end.
Catching passes come easy for Finch, grew an inch and put on 30 pounds since last season. It’s blocking in the Wildcats’ run-based offense that is still a work in progress.
“I’m just trying to learn what to do, cause I don’t want to get chewed out,” Finch said.
“He’s learning to position his body and get better leverage,” Kelley said. “The biggest thing he’s had to learn is to keep his feet moving.”
Although he’s adjusting to playing tight end, Finch is still a defensive end at heart.
“Hopefully I can play defense again next year,” he said. “But I’m willing to do whatever I can to help the team.”
This year, that is at tight end.