On-field success in Clovis starts in offseason

Sophomore Kyle Hromas works his legs on a sled during Wednesday’s offseason workout. CNJ staff photo by Rick White

By Rick White

Amid the sound of weights clacking like a used car with bad pistons, and the occasional shrill of a coach’s whistle, Alex Everett waits for the burn in his chest muscles to subside.

After getting pushed around last season as an undersized defensive tackle, the Clovis High sophomore is determined to get bigger and stronger.

He’s already packed 20 pounds onto his still-growing frame during the Wildcats’ off-season program.

“We’re working for a state championship,” said Everett, fresh off a set of bench presses Wednesday in the testosterone-laced and dank Clovis High weight room. “The harder you work, the more the reward.

“Hopefully, at the end of the season, it will result in a nice, pretty ring for my finger.”

At 6-foot-1 and 220-pounds, Everett’s game is still predicated on speed and quickness, but he believes the added strength will keep him from getting driven off the line.
“Hopefully, this year it will be me doing the pushing around,” he said.

Junior center Jonathan Fails has actually dropped weight in the off-season program, which consists of three days of lifting and two days of agility and skills training.

“I’m a lot stronger than I was last year,” said Fails, who at 5-11 and 220 pounds, is the only starter returning on the offensive line. “I think it will help me come off the ball a lot better.”
Fails said lifting and running gets monotonous, but understands it’s a necessary evil for getting better.

Clovis assistant coach Darren Davis said off-season workouts are the foundation of a Clovis program that has earned 10 state titles since 1978.

“They know the harder they work the more it will pay off,” Davis said. “It’s part of the tradition here.”
Davis said the coaching staff is pleased with the work ethic of this year’s team.

“They work harder than last year’s team,” Davis said. “They’re not as mature, and they’ve had to do a lot of running, but they work harder.”

Everett is one of eight returning starters from last year’s 8-3 team that was bounced in the first-round of the Class 5A state playoffs.

“Last year it was more like follow the leader,” Everett said. “This year we’re being asked to be the leaders. Everybody is looking to us for direction and motivation.”