• October 22, 2019

COUNTDOWN TO KICKOFF 2019: Marfa Shorthorns - Odessa American: Football

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COUNTDOWN TO KICKOFF 2019: Marfa Shorthorns

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Posted: Saturday, August 10, 2019 5:29 pm

MARFA When things don’t go according to plan,  hitting the reset button is sometimes the way to go.

That’s how Arturo Alferez is approaching the start of his third full season as the head coach of the Marfa football program.

After finishing 6-3 in his first season (2017), the Shorthorns took a step back and were winless in 2018, a year that saw the Shorthorns battle through adversity.

Alferez hopes that the third year is the charm and, through the first week of practice, he’s confident that things are heading in the right direction.

“I’ve been emphasizing the importance of playing and bonding as a team,” he said. “We’re seeing them unite together and that’s going to pay a lot of dividends for us.”

Another asset helping the Shorthorns is experience.

Among the core returners are five seniors — Jared Fuentez, Bryan Torres, Aron Morales, Miguel Borunda and Juan Martinez — looking to bounce back from a challenging season.

When asked what the key to turning around the team’s fortunes, there was one unified answer.

“We just have to work better as a team,” Fuentez said. “I felt like there was a lot of individualism on the team last year. If we work as a team, we can accomplish more and get back to winning.”

One of the first markers to get back on the winning path is putting in work early and that attitude is something that the Shorthorns have taken to heart.

“The first week is definitely important,” Torres said. “It’s always the hardest and we’re motivated to have a successful year.

“Comparing it to last year, I already see a big improvement. I think that’s a key point that’s going to be helpful for our success this year.”

There are many ways to go about building a cohesive football team but Alferez decided to take an alternate approach during the first week of preseason practice.

The team made a 568-mile round trip from Marfa to White Sands National Monument in New Mexico during the first week of practice to work out and to bond off the field.

It was the first time that Alferez says he had tried something like this and was open to taking a new approach to build team unity.

“We (as coaches) thought about what we could do as far as a team-bonding activity and we thought about taking different trips,” Alferez said. “Going up to White Sands was an opportunity for us to come together, get to know each other off the field but also get to know what we have as a team.”

Based on the reaction, that goal seems to have achieved what it was intended to do.

“It’s the little things that help us bond better as a team,” Torres said. “If you know how to cooperate with your team, you’re going to work well with them on the field.”

“Everybody was just hanging out and during our workouts there, we were picking each other up and pushing each other to their limits,” Fuentez said. “I think it was a good team trip just to get to know everyone outside of football.”

As much fun as the team had off the field, the goal remains the same on the field: win.

Along with the five seniors, Alferez says that he’ll have a number of returners from Levi Hinojos, Dedrick Campos and John Aguero to help the Shorthorns.

Combined with the newcomers, Alferez hopes to see his plan start approaching full fruition starting Aug. 30 against Sierra Blanca in the season opener as he tries to fit all the pieces in place.

“We want to look at execution and how much we can run and pass the ball,” he said. “At the same time, we want to see where we can put our players and where they can help us out in every aspect of the game.”

That all starts by the team coming together on and off the field with the hope of seeing more victories under the lights.

“We just need to keep on working,” Torres said. “We worked hard last year but we weren’t able to get to where we wanted to be. But I believe that it was actually a good starting point for us to realize what we needed to change.”

>> Follow Tony Venegas on Twitter at @OA_TVenegas


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