Farwell assistant coach Doug Boyd gets a ride on the blocking sled during Tuesday’s practice. CNJ photo by Mike Linn.
By Rick White
Most of Farwell’s players got a good taste of the Class 1A football playoffs last fall, and the Steers are anxious to build on that success.
Only four seniors graduated from last season’s 9-2 squad which reached the second round of the playoffs. It was the Steers’ first winning season and first playoff berth since 1999.
“We’ve got a lot of kids back, and that helps things go a lot smoother,” fourth-year coach Jacob Thompson said. “They got a taste of the playoffs last year.
“It’s kind of nice knowing what kind of team you’ve got going in.”
Thompson said the Steers, who return seven starters on offense and eight on defense, have been ranked anywhere from ninth to 16th in 1A polls. Senior Robbie Tabb, a wide receiver and backup quarterback last year, is slated to be the team’s starting QB this fall.
“Everything kind of came together last year,” Thompson said. “We had injuries, but we were deeper than in the past.”
Farwell opens at home against Plains on Aug. 27. The Steers’ other four pre-District 4-1A games are all against new opponents — Dimmitt, Friona, Morton and Floydada.
Sudan has been placed in 4-1A this season, giving Farwell five district games.
“We’ve set a goal to be in the playoffs,” Thompson said. “To be honest, we’ve set a goal to be playing on Thanksgiving weekend (third round).”
Bovina — Second-year Mustangs coach Kent Torbert has to replace several skill positions this fall, including standout running back Jonathan Chisom, but said he was encouraged by the team’s performance on Saturday in a scrimmage at Boys Ranch.
“Defense is ahead of offense, but that’s to be expected this time of year,” said Torbert, whose team was denied a playoff berth with a loss to Farwell in the regular-season finale. “But the kids hit well.”
Senior Jeff Casas returns for his third season at quarterback, and Torbert said the Mustangs have four of their five linemen back on offense.
“We’re going to put the best 11 players on the field (on each side of the ball), and in order to do that a lot of them will have to play both ways,” Torbert said. “When you’re playing for a playoff spot the last week of the season, that’s where you want to be.”
Bovina opens at home on Aug. 27 against Morton, a team Torbert said is ranked in the top 25 in 1A. Other new opponents are Friona, district foe Sudan and the large-school junior varsities from Clovis and Amarillo High.
Muleshoe — The Mules missed the Class 3A playoffs for the first time in six years and graduated 17 seniors, but coach David Wood is optimistic.
Wood said the team still has plenty to build around, returning five starters on offense and six on defense.
“It was disappointing we didn’t make it, but I think we’re up to the challenge,” he said. “We’ve got some good senior leadership and some good young kids.”
Sophomore Brant Hamilton is the projected starter at quarterback. He got some significant varsity time last season while senior starter Landon Sheets was out with an injury.
Muleshoe opens at home on Aug. 27 against Sanford-Fritch, one of three new pre-district foes on the schedule. In District 2-3A, Dimmitt and Slaton both dropped to Class 2A while Levelland moves down from 4A into the district.
“Any time you come from 4A, you have to feel like you have more numbers than anybody,” Wood said. “But we’d like to win the district. Our guys have some pretty high expectations; they’re shooting for the stars.”