Saturday, July 20, 2013

Hobbs, Lovington football show well at ENMU's 7-on-7 tournament

Clayton Jones/News-Sun
Hobbs' Steven Olivas runs after the catch against Portales during the ENMU
7-on-7 Tournament on Friday in Portales.
  I'm the first to say 7-on-7s aren't the best indication for how a team will do when the regular season hits. No sport decided with a helmet and pads can be decided a month before it starts in shorts and a T-shirt.
  However, when you're a program like Hobbs that has struggled for the better part of the last 30 years (one playoff win since 1982), any indication the program is going in a positive direction and moving toward long-term success is a victory.
  Even if you're a program like Lovington and all its state championships, it's good to see positive results when losing 30-plus seniors from the year before.
  So Hobbs going 5-2 at the Eastern New Mexico University 7-on-7 Tournament on Friday in Portales (getting the No. 2 seed before losing in the semifinals) and showing depth in the program with the JV winning its division (beating the Robertson varsity in the final) and the freshman team making it to the semifinals in its division while Lovington also made it to the semifinals in the large-school division is worth being encouraged about.
  Hobbs was solid throughout the day as first-year quarterback David Romero used the Eagles' experienced trio of receivers in Brandon Amaya, Steven Olivas (who caught what felt like two dozen TDs Friday) and Kolin Zembas well while also utilizing newcomer Dalton Piwenitzky. The Eagles looked sharp for much of the day until the final half against Plainview, Texas, in the semifinals in their final game of the day.
  While there isn't a ton of new talent offensively, an improved knowledge of Hobbs second-year coach Charles Gleghorn's no-huddle, spread offense should lead to more success offensively – which showed Friday.
  The same could be said defensively as the Eagles seem to be grasping defensive coordinator Mike Felicetti's schemes better with less blown coverages and more plays being made. Alec Smith, Brody Engle, Guy Ross Tippy, Patrick Sanders, Brevin Young, Marc Grimaldo, Logan Amaya and many others played well on the defensive side for Hobbs. The Eagles should have more depth defensively in 2013 – something that hurt a defense last season that gave up points at will for much of 2012.
Clayton Jones/News-Sun
Lovington quarterback Zach Molinar throws
against Portales on Friday.
  As for Lovington, they look like most Wildcat teams at the non-interior linemen positions – small, scrappy and hard nosed (on a side note, I walked by Lovington's linemen and they are big, particularly for the 3A level).
  The Wildcats limped out of the gates Friday, including a loss to Hobbs, before picking up steam late and making it to the tournament's semifinals – including beating top-seed Clovis in the quarterfinals.
  One advantage Lovington has is quarterback Zach Molinar does have some experience at quarterback over the last two seasons at the varsity level (though he played behind David Robles for much of the time). He looked very good for much of latter part of the day Friday as he's a big, strong guy back there who can sling it.
  Laden Blythe was the standout at receiver for the Wildcats as the 6-foot senior snagged nearly every ball that went in his direction. My guess is he'll be Molinar's go-to guy.
  But other receivers really came on as well, including Jordan Garcia, Tristan Hernandez and Drake Norton.
  As for the lineman challenge at the event, Lovington took third while Hobbs was fifth out of 21 teams in attendance.
  Both teams begin official practice Aug. 5.