By Thomas Garcia
QCS staff writer
The Tucumcari Rattlers and Logan Longhorns start their season Friday night at home under the direction of new head coaches.
Wayne Ferguson will handle the reigns this season as the Rattlers head coach.
Ferguson starts the season short a quarterback and running back facing off against the 3A Hatch Valley Bears.
Quarterback Travis Garcia injured his shoulder during Friday’s scrimmage against the Raton Tigers and will be sidelined for at least three weeks.
“Travis separated his shoulder,” Ferguson said. “We will just have to monitor his progress.”
Ferguson said running back Dimitri Chappell is out for the season with an ankle injury.
“We will have George Montano (running back) back for Friday night’s game,” Ferguson said.
The Bears start the season down eight starters which has left them with a young line in need of fine tuning, said head coach Jack Cisco.
“We’ve got a young team and they need to grow up fast,” Cisco said.
Cisco said the offensive and defensive line is rebuilding this season. He said strengthening their play throughout the season will be key to their success.
“We have to build on their skills,” Cisco said. “We have one returning starter on the lines.”
Cisco said sophomore Chase Carson is stepping into the role of starting quarterback. He said Carson has previous experience as QB in junior high and junior varsity.
“He has been learning the system,” Cisco said. “We are confident with his abilities.”
Both coaches agree they are in search for a win, though there are other issues they will be addressing.
Ferguson said while he would like to see the team continue the aggressive style of play seen during the scrimmage, keeping the team healthy is key.
“It’s always tough losing players so early in the season,” Ferguson said. “We want to continue strong play while doing our best to limit injuries.”
Cisco said gaining experience for the young linemen will be crucial to the rest of the season.
“It’s about getting them on the field and getting those reps in,” Cisco said.
Kene Terry takes over the coaching duties for the 1A Longhorns following over a decade under Billy Burns.
“I can just hope to do my best to continue the strong program Burns has built,” Terry said.
Terry’s first test of the season is taking on the defending 8-man state champion Melrose Buffalos.
“We feel good playing at home,” Terry said. “We will see what we’ve got and just have to play our game.”
Terry said the team’s defense is looking good, though he’d like to get the offense clicking better.
“I know it is just the start of the season,” Terry said. “We need to improve on our timing, speed and execution.”
Buffalos head coach Dickie Roybal said Friday’s game against the Longhorns will be a test for the newly formed offense.
“Both of my quarterbacks from last season and fullback are gone,” Roybal said.
Roybal said sophomore Brian Hemminger is stepping into the role of quarterback for the first time.
“Hemminger has been working on learning the system,” Royal said. “He is making progress we just need to get him some more reps.”
Roybal said containing the Longhorns on offense and keeping them from the outside will be key to the game.
“We have to be able to contend with their speed,” Roybal said.
Both games will start at 7 p.m. Friday.