Fri Aug 17th, 2018
Special to the Drum
Tags: 1A Southern Peaks Conference, Alfonso ‘Ponch’ Garcia, Bobcats, Colorado High School Activities Association, Colten Jackson, Dustin Sanchez, Ignacio High School Football, Lawrence Toledo, Mike Archuleta, Ocean Hunter
IHS’ season not in rumored jeopardy
Remember the rock band, Collective Soul’s 1994 debut, ‘Hints, Allegations and Things Left Unsaid’? That title pretty well summarized how Ignacio Football’s 2018 season officially commenced. But after hints and allegations emerged that the program may not have enough bodies to fill out even a bare-bones varsity roster to compete in the Colorado High School Activities Association’s 11-man ranks, head coach Alfonso ‘Ponch’ Garcia emphatically put such things – probably best left unsaid – to bed.
“First of all … I don’t know who got that miscommunication; I don’t know really what happened,” he said Monday evening, August 13, after starting the second week of official practices.
“I never had a meeting. I never called for a meeting,” he continued, alluding to a reported preseason organizational meeting while trying not to laugh in continued disbelief. “I was like, ‘What the heck is going on here?’ It was so weird, messed up! Somebody let this out – I don’t know who it was – and really started a mess.”
Of course, that seems almost par for the 1A Southern Peaks Conference’s course, what with rival Dolores under new leadership this fall, Walsenburg John Mall – also under new leadership – transferring to the 1A Santa Fe (while considering a 2019 drop to 8-man), and former SPC member Center back in the fold after a year away from varsity competition.
And much to the boss’ delight, the Bobcats apparently haven’t taken any doomsday hearsay to heart.
“It’s been going great; the kids have responded so well,” Garcia said. “And by the way, we DO have twenty-four, twenty-six kids right now! Today we did a little bit of hitting … because the kids, they’ve been antsy! They want to start hitting! And we decided it was time do a little engaging, get ’em used to it, so it was good.”
“The attitudes are so positive – it’s pretty awesome.”
Though quarterback will again be a position up for grabs, particularly with both Trace Lovelace and Marcus Chapman having graduated back in May, much potential is eligible to return. Ball-carriers Dustin Sanchez, Lawrence Toledo, and Mike Archuleta could again be in the mix for touches along with receivers Colten Jackson and Ocean Hunter, but Garcia stressed that offensive-line performance will be most vital of all.
“We’ve had to start with a fresh quarterback. You always want to have a quarterback coming up, you know? But with my luck, every year I’ve only had one kid that has been quarterback for even two years,” he said. “You always want to have more line, because if you don’t have your ‘front five’ ….”
“So I would like to work on that more – we would like to have eight, so we can sub those kids out, get them a little break – but it is what it is. Our line’s looking pretty good; it would be nice to have more.”
And against La Jara Centauri and Monte Vista, again the SPC’s likely front-runners, more would certainly be better. But ultimately Garcia knows no matter who he plays at any position – or how many he plays with at all – against any given opponent, success or failure will be determined by one simple concept: “Understanding,” he said. “Understanding the few plays that we’re trying to insert, and to make them understand their jobs – what every kid has to do – for whatever play’s called.”
“Yeah, everybody wants to have an undefeated season, you know? But I’ll … be a very happy man with a .500 season and changing of attitudes towards the positive, and making a difference on the kids. I’m excited, looking forward to putting this group out there … competing – the main word is ‘compete’ – and never give up.”
“That’s most important,” he added. “Football’s just a game, but a game that teaches you a lot about life.”