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

Clovis feels farther ahead in 2019


August 11, 2019

CLOVIS — Friday afternoon’s Clovis football practice began under expanding blue skies and departing dark menacing clouds.

Fitting, because the Wildcats’ first scrimmage was then just five days away, their first regular-season game a mere two weeks off. And like any team, the season’s approach can signal the coming of metaphoric clear skies along with some ominous ones. And like any team, Clovis hopes for more of the former than the latter.

It was in literally clearing and slightly cooler weather that the ’Cats wound down their first week of practice which, like the skies above, brought a lot more good than otherwise.

“Honestly, I think we’re way further than we were last year. I’ve said it before,” Clovis head coach Cal Fullerton said at the conclusion of Friday’s second practice. “Even after (the first practice on Monday) you could tell right away we were a little bit further ahead than we were, and that’s probably because of our summer workouts. And so we finally got to put on the pads on Wednesday, full pads today, and the kids were excited about Wednesday and today. We were a little lethargic on Thursday; the kids were sore their second day in pads. We got after it pretty good on Wednesday, so Thursday we had a quick turnaround and went in the morning and they were a little lethargic. But today they came back out and got a lot better.”

“I think it was very good. I think we learned a lot and we got better as a team,” junior offensive guard/defensive tackle Johnny Jimenez said. “I think we’re all improving every single day. We’re all physical. And we’re becoming more of a family every day.”

“After Monday I was feeling really confident, I thought we were working really good together as a team, coming together,” junior running back/defensive back Jeston Webskowski said. “And then (Wednesday) we finally got to put our full pads on and it just showed that we had a really good offseason. The physicality that we showed in the offseason is moving over to real football now.”

Progression from the beginning of Week 1 to the end of it is not only expected, it’s much needed, from any football team. By Friday, the Wildcats had checked that box.

“I think our kids have gotten a little sharper,” Fullerton said. “A couple things that we did that we haven’t done in the past ... our kids are jumping on it and getting after it and really starting to understand.”

“The lines — the defensive and offensive line — are starting to come together,” Jimenez said, “because we lost two big parts from last year, and we’re starting to come together more as a unit.

“I didn’t know if we could handle everything, all the adversity that we were going through,” Jimenez added. “I didn’t know if we could handle practicing twice a day, coming back out, having the same mindset, a good mindset every single day, coming in wanting to get better every day. And we did that.”

“Without pads we were just going seven-on,” Webskowski said, “but now that we have gotten to actually practice, I feel like we’re getting way better looks now.”

Week 2 should bring more challenges, and the Wildcats hope, more progression. The week’s biggest challenge will come on Wednesday, when they travel to Ruidoso to scrimmage one of the state’s elite teams, Las Cruces. The Wildcats are relishing the chance to test themselves against such competition.

“I’m ready for it. I think our guys are ready for it,” Webskowski said. “We’ve been working real hard all week, came with a good mindset every day. And I think it’s going to be a good one. It’ll be a fight for sure.”

“I think they’re going to be one of the top teams in New Mexico,” Jimenez said. “They have a lot of people returning and I know they have very good tight ends, and their offensive line, I believe, has a lot of returning starters. But I think we can hang with them.”

“It’s always a great test for us,” Fullerton said. “It’ll let us know right away how far we are, if we are really further than we were. We think that we are right now, but playing against Las Cruces — who’s always a top-five team in the state, and probably one of the top two or three toughest teams in the state year in and year out, and one of the best-coached teams in the state — it’ll tell us a lot right away. We’re excited to play against somebody, but we got us a bunch of kids that haven’t been in that atmosphere before, and it’s going to be a rude awakening for some of ’em, for sure.”


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