Eagles will be tested

Clovis Christian coach Greg Darden goes over a play with junior Corey Hastings (left) and sophomore Chris Mitchell during Wednesday’s practice at Potter Park. Photo by Rick White

By Dave Wagner

With a talented senior class, Clovis Christian was a factor last season in area six-man football.
The Eagles, in their second year of New Mexico Activities Association competition, posted a 4-4 record, although they were not eligible for postseason play due to lack of accreditation.
CCS is still hoping to become accredited in time to be eligible for this year’s postseason, sixth-year coach Greg Darden said. Beyond that, though, the Eagles have a lot of holes to fill with the graduation of eight seniors.
“We’re going to be a young team,” Darden said. “But I think the young kids we’ve got may be a little ahead athletically of where the kids that graduated last year were when they were sophomores.
“It’s just a matter of them maturing and getting ready to play in that upper level. I think we’re going to be OK.”
The Eagles certainly have a tough opener on Friday night at Tatum, one of the favorites to win the six-man title this year. And the Coyotes may have a bit of a revenge factor — they lost a 70-64 shootout to CCS last year at Jim Hill Field.
“They’re supposed to be No. 1 this year, but we’re hoping to change that,” said linebacker Ivan Godwin, one of three returning seniors for the Eagles. “I’d like to see us (win) every game, but we’ll just play it as it comes and hope for the best.”
The Eagles have a combined junior high-high school squad of 23, about a dozen of whom will dress out for the varsity. Darden said he is hoping to platoon as much as his small roster will allow.
“We’ll depend a lot on our three seniors and our one (returning) junior,” he said of Godwin, seniors Joseph Hostler and Gage Bonestroo and junior Cory Hastings. “Those four boys will be the glue that holds us together.”
Matching last year’s record could be challenging, Darden conceded.
“If we can stay .500 I’d be happy,” he said. “But it’s hard to say. These guys could come out and surprise some people.”
That’s just what they’re hoping to do, Godwin said.
“At the beginning of (practice), I didn’t really want to say anything,” he said. “But I think we’ve really come together as a team.
“Defensive-wise, I think we’re going to do well. On offense, we just need to work on our plays so everyone knows what they’re supposed to do.”