Foxes looking for three-peat in Class 1A

By Dave Wagner: CNJ sports writer

Coming off back-to-back Class 1A state championships, Fort Sumner coach Dexter McDaniel is hoping the Foxes can do something they’ve never done.

“We’re excited about this year because the boys have an opportunity to three-peat, which is something never done at Fort Sumner,” said McDaniel, beginning his fourth season as head coach and his 16th at the school. “But it’s going to be hard. The biggest thing is we’ve got to stay healthy.”

McDaniel said Fort Sumner’s enrollment has been decreasing in recent years, and the Foxes anticipate fewer players (24) than some eight-man schools.

What they do have going is tradition — Fort Sumner has been in eight 1A state championship games in the past 11 years, and won seven of them.

Last year, Fort Sumner defeated Clayton for the title, capping a 9-4 season.

McDaniel said three days of two-a-day practices will start on Monday. Fort Sumner will scrimmage McCurdy and Esponala Valley on Aug. 25 at McCurdy before opening the season Aug. 31 at Hagerman.

Texico — Despite a 5-6 record, the Wolverines reached the second round of the playoffs in their first year in Class 2A before losing to Santa Rosa.

Eighth-year coach Mike Prokop said he anticipates “34 or 35” players out for a week of two-a-days, begining at 6 a.m. Monday. The Wolverines will have only about five seniors, though, and just a handful of returning starters.

“Our strengths will be (in) our backs,” Prokop said. “The weakness is in the line because we’re untested there.”

Texico has a three-way scrimmage on tap at Farwell with Vega on Aug. 24, then opens the season a week later at Dexter.

Melrose — After struggling to a 3-7 mark in 2006, 12th-year coach Dickie Roybal said he’s looking for improvement heading into this season — if the Buffaloes can stay healthy. He anticipates 14 players reporting for the start of two-a-days Monday morning.

“We’ve got some good kids,” Roybal said. “We were pretty young last year, but I’m fairly optimistic now.

“If we can keep everybody healthy, I think we can make a run for the playoffs.”

Melrose hosts several teams in scrimmages on Aug. 24, then opens at home the following week against Tatum.

Clovis Christian — The Eagles are scheduled to begin two-a-days on Monday. School begins Aug. 20 at CCS.

Clovis Christian opens its season on Aug. 31 at Roswell against Gateway Christian. Coach Jason Swann could not be reached for comment.