Farwell battling numbers game

By Eric Butler

FARWELL — The Farwell Steers didn’t even make it to their first scrimmage before being hit by the injury bug.
Senior Cale Stevenson, penciled in at running back, is out for the year due to a concussion and sophomore Logan McFarland, one of three players competing at quarterback, tore an anterior cruciate ligament and underwent surgery this week.
Still, the season-ending injuries to the two key players hasn’t diminished hopes that Farwell can make it into the postseason round this year.
The Class 1A Steers, who finished 4-6 in 2002, open their season Friday at Plains.
“I think we’ll be able to overcome the injuries,” said Jason Johnson, who ended up winning the quarterback job. “If we play like we know we can, I think we’ll be number one in the district.”
Last year, McFarland’s older brother Lonnie went down with an injury in mid-season. At almost the same time, Johnson was hurt, too — sending the Steers scrambling for quarterback help.
Third-year Farwell coach Jacob Thompson had only 17 players on the varsity roster to begin fall workouts before the two injuries, and will be forced to shuffle players from spot to spot.
“We’ve taught our kids to always know what everybody else is doing on the field anyway, so it’s not like it’s a huge adjustment for them,” Thompson said.
Some of the position changes this year include Grant Gregory moving from free safety, where he was a second-team, all-district selection, to defensive end; senior Jeremie Chandler from offensive tackle two spots down the line to center; and senior Jose Cabello will play tackle on both sides of the ball after playing guard and guard and defensive end in 2002.
“Our terminology is real simple and our schemes aren’t real complicated,” Thompson said. “That was one of my deals with being the head coach. I wanted my kids to know what everybody else did, so, if we did have an injury, we could keep our best athletes on the field.”
Gregory said the district seems balanced after Nazareth.
“I think we’ve got a pretty good team. I don’t think our district is as strong as it has been in the past,” said the 6-3 Gregory. “Nazareth will be pretty good, but everybody else is pretty even according to preseason predictions.”