Steers making changes

Farwell senior defensive end Roper Smith practices a “swim move” on senior defensive end Colton Sudderth as Steers head coach Jacob Thompson looks on during group defensive drills in Monday’s season-opening practice. (CNJ staff photo: Andrew Chavez)

By Dave Wagner: CNJ sports writer

Like their counterparts throughout Texas, the Farwell High School football team got an early start on the season Monday.

The Steers also got their day’s business over early, with practice interjected by meetings beginning at 8 a.m. and ending early in the afternoon.

“It was just one long practice, really,” senior flanker-linebacker Colby Norton said, “which I think most of us like (as opposed to two separate sessions).”

Senior fullback-linebacker Logan McFarland said he noticed a difference even after one day.

“It was harder than the first day last year,” he said. “It seems like (the coaches) are taking it a lot more serious this year. They’re wanting to win.”

After reaching the second round of the Class 1A playoffs in 2003, Farwell was relegated to .500 status (5-5) last season. The Steers, who have a 5 p.m. (CDT) scrimmage at home against Olton on Aug. 18 before opening the season Aug. 26 at Plains, have made what fifth-year coach Jacob Thompson says are relatively minor adjustments with personnel.

In part, those are designed to make up for personnel losses to graduation. Norton, for example, has changed on both sides of the ball after playing split end and cornerback a year ago.

“The people we lost were key players, but I think we’ll do a good job filling in,” said the 5-foot-10, 165-pound Norton, one of nine players projected to start both ways. “We all believe we’re going to have a better season this year. We’re working hard and giving it 100 percent, and hoping for the best.”

McFarland, who is 5-10 and 180 pounds, has also moved from the secondary to a linebacker position.

“I think it’ll be a lot of fun,” he said. “I like being up there to where I can hit people a little easier. I wasn’t quite fast enough to play safety.”

Thompson said he plans to put an emphasis on conditioning during the early workouts. Teams won’t be able to dress out in full pads until Friday.

“Today went pretty good,” he said. “It was a lot of conditioning. We’re trying to start pretty slow (with implementing formations). We’re spending a lot of time running and doing individual skills.”

Thompson said 41 players were on hand for the first workout. He added that coaches at Eastern New Mexico University helped implement a conditioning regimen for the team.

“The kids looked pretty good for the most part,” he said. “It seemed like most of them were in pretty good shape.”

Muleshoe and Bovina also started practice Monday.