COUNTDOWN TO KICKOFF 2019: McCamey - Odessa American: Football

COUNTDOWN TO KICKOFF 2019: McCamey

By Tony Venegas tvenegas@oaoa.com, 432-333-7649 | Posted: Wednesday, August 14, 2019 11:45 pm

McCAMEY Things have gone pretty smoothly for the McCamey football program over the last two seasons, racking up back-to-back district titles and 18 victories under head coach Fred Staugh.

This past offseason saw Staugh move on to take the head coaching job at Monahans while former defensive coordinator Michael Woodard was promoted from within as the new leader in charge.

Despite a new face in charge, Woodard’s main focus is to use that same successful formula to keep that run going.

“Our kids have become accustomed to finding a way to win and we hope that we’re able to use the past to influence the future,” he said. “But the past is the past and this is Day 1 of a new program and a new team.”

Woodard will look to find his own winning combination but plans to maintain that consistency that’s helped the Badgers reach this recent run.

That comfort level is something that the players embrace and look to use as a springboard for the coming year.

 “We still go play by play and not a whole lot has changed in the program,” said senior lineman Tristan Pineda. “We just need to take everything slow and do what we do.”

“I know everyone out here wants to go farther than what they did last year,” said junior quarterback Ivan Rubio. “I’m sure we’ll use that as motivation.”

That road starts with the Badgers becoming a bit younger from the 8-4 team that saw its season end in the area round of the playoffs to Vega.

Woodard notes that he’s going to lean on a “dadgum strong” junior class and says that the familiarity with the system will be invaluable.

“We have not changed much,” Woodard said. “Their knowledge and understanding of the program is definitely going to be an attribute to follow for the younger kids.”

One of those juniors leading the mantle is Rubio, who returns after earning District 1-2A Division II Newcomer of the Year honors.

He is embracing a leadership role and is motivated to try to the lead the Badgers past the area round where the season has ended each of the last two seasons.

“I’ve been waiting for this moment since our season ended last year,” Rubio said. “Having the success that we had last year is going to give us some confidence but we’re just going to work our tail off and just go one play at a time.”

Rubio will have a number of weapons to target in the Badgers’ spread offense from sophomore receiver Nano Rodriguez and junior tight end Caden Johnson. Those are just some of the top playmakers looking to replace the production from last year’s senior class. 

Among the big names gone are wide receiver/defensive back Carson Fuentes, running back Gunner Adams and defensive tackle Taelor Pister.

All three athletes earned superlatives as most valuable player, offensive and defensive players of the year, respectively last season.

“Our guys have worked already and we want them to get after it,” Woodard said. “I want everybody to be able to understand their jobs and doing what we’re supposed to do.”

Woodard understands that he’ll have to rely on senior leadership, even with the limited numbers and Pineda says he’s ready to take on that role.

He’ll look to make his mark on both lines, especially on the offensive side where the Badgers replace three all-district starters.

 “I try to go 110 percent everywhere I can that way if the younger guys can see that, they should too,” he said. “We’re a young team and these other guys are going to be here for a long time.”

The Badgers will get a head start on their journey as they open the season Aug. 29 against Seymour in Sweetwater.

There is plenty of work to be done between now and the opening kickoff.

As for Woodard, he hopes that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

“It’s the same as it has been every year in coaching,” he said. “You want to win and you want to work hard for the kids. That aspect hasn’t changed.

“The teams from last year and the year before have won things and we have to work hard in order to achieve that kind of success.”

>> Follow Tony Venegas on Twitter at @OA_TVenegas