The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Offseason has Cats ready for two-a-days


If offseason workouts are any gauge, things are looking good this season for the Clovis High football team.

CHS defensive coordinator Darren Kelley said the Wildcats had a good turnout for their three-times-a-week, early-morning program over the summer.

The Cats begin two-a-day workouts on Monday, the first day of official practice for fall sports in New Mexico.

“We had probably the best turnout we’ve ever had for our offseason program,” Kelley said. “We probably averaged between 30 and 32 players every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.”

In addition to weight lifting, the workouts involved primarily stretching, running and agility drills, Kelley said. They lasted between 60 and 90 minutes.

Beyond that, Kelley said, many players did additional work on their own.

Senior offensive tackle Steven Gulley said he’s as ready as can be for the start of practice.

“Me and a couple of other linemen (tackle Scott Fahsholtz and center Wade Lopez) would go running in the evenings after we got off work,” Gulley said. “No matter how much you run, you’re never in good enough shape for two-a-days.”

The Cats, finished 10-3 last fall, losing to Las Cruces High in the state semifinal round.

Senior Ryan Denton, who emerged from a two-way battle to take over quarterback duties toward the end of last season, said that knowing he’s the frontrunner this time has given him motivation.

“Last year I wasn’t real sure (about starting),” Denton said. “This year I know it’s mine to lose, and that gives me more confidence. I did work harder this year, I know that.”

Jeff Epps, who lost out in the QB battle, is making the transition to linebacker. Kelley said Epps is one of the hardest-working players on the team.

“He’s put a lot of extra time in this summer,” Kelley said. “He may not be the most talented kid out there, but he’ll probably work harder than anyone.”

Denton said he often returned to Rock Staubus Gym in the afternoons to lift more weights, throw the football a bit and get in more running.

He said he’s anxious for the Aug. 29 season opener at Mayfield, which beat the Cats 14-0 in last year’s opener at Leon Williams Stadium.

“Last year I was kind of intimidated by Mayfield,” Denton said, “but this year I can’t wait to play them.”

The 5-foot-11, 240-pound Gulley said he only missed a couple of workouts all summer, adding that he’s tried to improve his speed.

“I think I got a little better with my speed over the summer, and I know I’m a lot faster than I was last year,” he said. “I’m in a lot better shape than I was this time last year.”


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