There’s not much difference who’s ready to run the ball behind the line when the Clovis Wildcat offense takes the field.
The line is set for the task.
“We’ve got to start up with a good push, make sure they have paths,” said senior tackle Jared Burns. “We’ve got to make sure we’re getting our jobs done.”
The job never changes. Just ask Tommy Standefer.
A defensive lineman on the Clovis 1981 state champion team and its 1980 state runnerup, the current Alamogordo coach said he’s always pretty amazed to see game film from a current Wildcat squad and remember so many things from when he played nearly two decades before.
“I think whenever you play a Clovis team, it’s always the same thing — whoever’s most physical,” said Standefer, entering his third season coaching the Tigers. “All football games come down to that, but that seems to be a Clovis tradition.”
An attack predicated on the run, and a pass every so often to keep the defense honest. Of course, that’s also what Clovis expects from Alamogordo.
“They’ve got some athletes,” Clovis assistant Darren Kelley said. “They’ve got two running backs (seniors Travis Canelo and Dwaundle Baker) that can go. Both of those guys can run.”
Canelo is also a threat on defense, Kelley said, teaming up with junior Matt Vega for a tough linebacker tandem.
Kelley said a big key will be how Clovis handles the long road trip, especially early.
Traveling is part of challenge for any Clovis squad, Kelley often says, and a five-hour trip can’t come back to hurt them in the first five minutes.
“We’ve got to be ready to handle the trip,” Kelley said. “We’ve got to get focused and have the ability to come out and play those first series.”
Burns, a 6-foot, 245-pound senior, said he likes the feeling of being in the helmet too much to let a road trip kill his spirits.
“At home, we get to relax a lot more,” he said. “We know the field. You go on the road, and it’s about the same — but you’ve got to get over being stiff (from the bus).”
Clovis (0-0) at Alamogordo (0-0)
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Radio: KCLV 1240 AM, 99.1 FM; KTQM 99.9 FM; KWKA 680 AM; KICA 98.3 FM.
Coaches: Clovis, Eric Roanhaus, 32nd season, 290-100-5; Alamogordo, Tommy Standefer, second year, 9-13.
Last meeting: 2008, Clovis established itself early offensively and defensively, taking advantage of early Tiger stumbles to secure a 41-7 victory.
Alamogordo players to watch: DE Christian Harris, Sr., 5-11, 215; RB Dwaundle Baker, 5-10, 185; LB Matt Vega, Jr., 5-10, 190.
Change in surface: Last year’s home opener was the first time an artificial surface graced a Clovis Wildcat football home game. Friday is the last scheduled time this season Clovis will be on grass.
Clovis assistant Darren Kelley said it shouldn’t matter because the Wildcats are used to practicing on grass. But it is a sign of the times.
“It’s a changing (of the guard),” Kelley said. “But you’d think it would make sense for teams to go to turf when there’s a water shortage in New Mexico.”