Despite ‘flawed’ class, Thoreau coach still optimistic
By Quentin Jodie
THOREAU, N.M., Aug. 21, 2014
(Times photo – Quentin Jodie)
Despite the New Mexico Activities Association’s attempts to revamp the state’s classification system by placing an equal amount of schools in each class, Willie still sees the new system as flawed.
“Personally I think we should be one class lower,” the longtime Thoreau coach said. “I don’t make the rules but in some ways I think we’re at a disadvantage. But if we were playing one class lower we would have a higher chance of making the state playoffs."
This past spring the NMAA board approved the new classification and alignment plan and placed Thoreau in District 1-4A with Bloomfield, Kirtland Central, Shiprock, Wingate and Zuni for the upcoming football season.
The plan, which covers a two-year block, did not sit well with Willie because they were one of three schools that were near the cutoff point of being placed in Class 3A.
“Ideally that is where we should be, based on our numbers,” he said.
Nonetheless, he remains optimistic about the upcoming season as he returns a multitude of veterans. In fact, he returns all but two players from a team that went 6-4 last season.
“This is the best squad that we’ve had in years,” Willie said. “I lost one starter and every kid you see here has experience."
Of the 21 players that he had during a recent practice, Willie said 15 guys committed themselves to the program and did a lot of offseason training.
“Over time the kids realized that if we’re going to play teams like Bloomfield and Kirtland they have to be a lot stronger and faster,” he said. “They have worked real hard by doing a lot of conditioning and strength training.”
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