Friday, October 14, 2011

Houston, Highland show Hobbs football heading in right direction

  Through call ins and word of mouth, I kept hearing a buzz about the two Hobbs eighth-grade football teams – Houston and Highland – doing well.
  Houston I know was off to a 5-1 start with its only loss being a close defeat to Artesia and Highland wasn't far behind.
Photos by Brad Cox/Hobbs News-Sun
  Trust me, I'm not one of those who thinks if a program does well at the junior high, freshman and junior varsity level it translates into instant success at the varsity level. That isn't necessarily the case because of numerous variables, ranging from kids not playing anymore to the varsity level being the biggest leap of all for prep student-athletes. Lets remember, these are just eighth graders. At the same time, experiencing success breeds a winning attitude – important for football programs.
  Since I'd heard so much about the teams, I decided to go check out the two playing each other Thursday evening in front of a full moon at Watson Stadium.
  I didn't have a notepad, recorder or anything (though News-Sun sportswriter Brad Cox was nice enough to shoot photos). I just wanted to enjoy the game and take it in (something I usually only get to do at my daughter's athletic events). Sometimes when trying to take notes, play-by-play, stats and photos you often miss little things in games.
  Thursday's contest was entertaining with Houston (who had the size and athletic advantage) winning 34-21.
  But that wasn't the story.
  Both sides featured good athletes who made football plays. There was a jump pass (very Tim Tebow-esque) by the Highland quarterback for a touchdown. Houston used its two running backs to control the game, with each of them breaking off big runs and showing strong bursts.
  There were big players on both sides who look as if they can grow into quality varsity-level linemen. There was aggressiveness when tackling throughout the game by both squads.
  Heck, Highland's kicker looked better than many varsity kickers I've seen through the years.
  Overall, I came away impressed for an eighth-grade game.
  What I liked even better was the way they both helped up their opponent after each play and patted them on the helmet or shoulder pads. Great gamesmanship.
  While these eighth-grade athletes are still probably two to three years away from even contributing at the varsity level, it is good to see so many quality players at one grade level. It bodes well for the Hobbs football program as it needs groups like this coming through consistently to build just that – a program.