Saturday, July 20, 2024

Fighting Scouts using offseason training to prepare for upcoming football season

Fighting Scouts using offseason training to prepare for upcoming football season

KAYENTA – Window Rock’s football team is far from a finished product.

The Fighting Scouts are still putting it all the pieces together. Window Rock coach Wilbur Begay Jr. admits his team has a lot of work to do before the start of the 2024 season, but the Scouts have already had a busy summer. Last week the Begay-coached team took part in the Monument Valley 7-on-7 scrimmage that featured four teams.

“Our team is mostly sophomores and incoming freshmen,” said Begay, who’s entering his seventh year as the head coach. “We’re going to sprinkle in a few seniors, but the only senior we got that has some experience is our linemen.”

Fighting Scouts using offseason training to prepare for upcoming football season

Navajo Times | Quentin Jodie
Window Rock freshman Fierce Graymountain gets acknowledged by one of his teammates after catching a touchdown reception during a 7-on-7 game with Prescott Valley Bradshaw Mountain.

That lineman is Derek Martinez, as the Window Rock team leader will be working with a core group that is made up of mostly underclassmen.

“We’re pretty blessed with big linemen this year,” Begay said. “I think we can move the ball pretty well; we’re going to be running out some clock, too.”

The Scouts added two new linemen in brothers Wacey and Layne Phillips. Wacey will be entering his senior year while Layne is a junior.

“They transferred in from Colorado and they’re going to help us out a lot this year,” Begay said.

Despite being young in some key positions, the Scouts return – sophomore Kaden White, last year’s backup quarterback.

“He played some minutes last year at quarterback and that’s important for us,” the Window Rock coach said. “He’s taking on the challenge of being the team leader for us. He’s been playing well.”

White threw some nifty touchdowns during the 7-on-7 competition at Fort Lewis College in Colorado two weeks ago. The sophomore playmaker was not available on Saturday, but Begay expects him to pick up where he left off when the Scouts head to Holbrook and Copper Canyon in Glendale, Arizona, this week.

In addition to White, the seventh-year WR coach is going to be leaning on juniors Deion Nelson (running back, slotback, outside linebacker) and Lucas Nez (wideout, outside linebacker) to carry the load for a team that returns five lettermen.

“They’re going to be our standout players,” Begay said.

Nez, who took part in the MV scrimmage on Saturday, acknowledges the youthfulness in the team but he’s seen some vast improvements.

“We’re getting more deep coverage on defense,” Nez said. “For offense, we’re making more catches. We’re just fighting for the ball more.

“We’re going to get better,” he added. “We just need to keep working during the offseason. We also need to get into the weight room, too. We just have to keep going even though we’re struggling right now. We just have to keep going.”

With White missing, the Scouts utilized incoming freshman Caleb Tsosie as quarterback on Saturday. The young QB had plenty of one-on-one conversations with offensive coordinator Shannon Goodsell, who pointed out the difference from junior high football to high school football to the young lad.

“He’s going to be our backup, behind Kaden,” Begay said.

Following the events in Holbrook and Copper Canyon, the Scouts are going to stay busy for the rest of the month. Window Rock will host its own 7-on-7 tournament on June 22 with eight teams invited, which includes Tuba City, Monument Valley, Miyamura, Holbrook, Tohatchi, Wingate and Crownpoint.

“We’re trying to get to as many events as we can,” Begay said. “We’re trying to get in as many reps as we can. We do need a lot of work. Going against another team really helps with that. It kind of tells us what we need to practice on.”

Begay says their offseason workouts have been very beneficial as he’s seeing some progress from a fundamental standpoint. In addition, the team is building some much-needed chemistry.

“We’re gradually getting better,” Begay said. “We’re a lot better from last week – I can tell you that.”


About The Author

Quentin Jodie

Quentin Jodie is the Sports Editor for the Navajo Times. He started working for the Navajo Times in February 2010 and was promoted to the Sports Editor position at the end of summer in 2012. Previously, he wrote for the Gallup Independent. Reach him at qjodie@navajotimes.com

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