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COUNTDOWN TO KICKOFF 2019: Monahans Loboes - Odessa American: Football

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Posted: Tuesday, August 20, 2019 11:45 pm

MONAHANS For as long as most people can remember, the Monahans football program has been known for its ability to run the ball well.  

The Loboes will still run the ball plenty of times in 2019, but fans should expect to see the ball in the air a lot more often.

That’s one of the characteristics of the spread offense run by new head coach Fred Staugh. Staugh arrives from McCamey after accumulating 18 wins and two district championships in his two seasons with the Badgers.

As the countdown to kickoff draws closer, he’s pleased with the progress made during the transition to the new system.

“It’s been really good so far,” Staugh said. “Our kids have been very responsive to what we’re doing.

“I think they’re really having fun with it and enjoying the learning process. They’ve worked really hard to adjust and learn the new scheme.”

The Loboes are hoping that the change can help them find better results on the field after finishing 5-6 last season under Mel Maxfield. It was the first losing season for the program since 2004, the year before longtime head coach Mickey Owens arrived.

Staugh understands the high expectations that surround the program each year but says that he has a good support system to help see these changes through.

“There’s a lot of pride and tradition here in Monahans,” Staugh said. “We’ve gotten an incredible amount of community support in everything we’ve done.”

While installing the nuances of the spread will take time, Staugh will get a chance to put it to the test with a new signal caller.

Junior Bond Heflin takes over as the Loboes quarterback and he’s motivated to help the team reach those high expectations that he believes it fell short of reaching a year ago.

“Last year was kind of an off year for us,” Heflin said. “But I feel like we’re going to bounce back this year because we have a lot going on.”

Heflin added that learning the system has taken time but he’s also ready to show off what he can do.

“I think we all enjoy it,” he said. “We’re throwing the ball more and spreading it out. It’s a lot of fun.”

 There is plenty going on inside practice at Estes Memorial Stadium and Heflin understands his role in the grand scheme of things. That’s something that stood out in Staugh’s mind as well.

“Bond is a junior but he acts like a senior with his leadership skills,” Staugh said. “That’s extremely important for us.”

Monahans also has a number of key returners on offense to lean on, including seniors Lewis Wesley (943 yards, 7 touchdowns in 2018) at running back and Blaine Hunt on the offensive line. Linebacker Bud Navarette (97 tackles, 4 sacks), who will see time at tight end.

Staugh singled out Hunt and Navarette among those student-athletes that will also help lead the way.

“You’re only going to go as far as those senior leaders can take you,” he said. “Those guys do a tremendous job of leading the group.”

 Staugh is looking to make his own mark on the program as well. The offense will play a prominent part in that but he also understands the importance of building a strong winning culture.

“The biggest thing for us is discipline and accountability,” he said. “What we preach to these guys is that we’re going to be better on this rep then we were the last one so when we look up at the end of practice, we’re better than where we were yesterday.”

Heflin also sees the importance of this and says that being strong both physically and mentally will help the Loboes get to where they ultimately want to go.

“The biggest thing for us is everyone showing up every day and busting their tail,” he said. “I just want to see our chemistry improve so that we can come together as one family.”

Staugh, Heflin and the rest of the Loboes will get going Aug. 30 at Clint to open the season. And after a months-long process of a new scheme among other things, Staugh is just ready to get back out on the field.

“I think the kids will be excited,” Staugh said. “I love football and our kids love football so we’re just looking forward to go and play that first game.” 

>> Follow Tony Venegas on Twitter at @OA_TVenegas

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