In the final 20 minutes of Monday’s Clovis High football practice, the sun set on Leon Williams Stadium, and the slight breeze made it feel like an air-conditioned room.
Clovis coaches aren’t expecting that to be a common occurrence, with afternoon practices on tap for last season’s Class 5A semifinalist.
Monday’s workouts started at 4 p.m., and the next two days bring 1 p.m. workouts before school starts Thursday.
“Because we’ve got a lot of teacher meetings, we’ve got to practice in the afternoons, when it’s hot,” Wildcat assistant coach Darren Kelley said. “But that’s something we’ve got to adjust to. It will be hot in Alamogordo.”
Clovis opens the season hosting Alamogordo Aug. 27, but Kelley was referring to a scrimmage next Friday. Alamogordo will be the neutral site of the annual Las Cruces-Clovis scrimmage, set for 4 p.m.
If Monday was any indication, senior running back Juan Rivas said the Wildcats should be ready.
“We’re looking good,” Rivas said, “but we need some improvement on everything.”
Rivas missed most of last season with a shoulder injury, but was there throughout this summer for Clovis’ 7-on-7 play.
“We went after it,” Rivas said. “We completed almost everything and our defense shut them down. When we put the pads on, we’ll start getting the feel of it, start knocking some heads.”
Thursday is the first day Clovis can practice with pads, and that day will provide the Wildcats with a better measure of whether they can replicate or improve on a 9-3 campaign.
“Life changes Thursday,” Kelley said. “Some guys are great in shorts and a T-shirt. You kind of find out who your real football players are.”
Senior Chris Sharp, who will play right tackle, said he’s ready to help protect the backfield, which includes Jordan Hill at quarterback and the trio of Rivas, Quran Wiggins and Raymond Beachum.
“Right now, it’s about learning what to do,” Sharp said. “When we get pads on, it’s about doing it right. Everything has to be perfect on offense.”