Farmington, Aztec football squads glad to get their summer training programs underway

Matt Hollinshead,

FARMINGTON — The Farmington Scorpions and the Aztec Tigers made it back to the gridiron after three months of waiting for the OK.

Both football squads got their summer training programs underway on Monday, a key first step in returning closer to normal times.

"It was just awesome to the see the kids this morning," Farmington coach Jeff Dalton said. "It's not ideal necessarily, but we're happy to have contact with the players and to just get a start going... It's just great to have football back in the air a little bit."

The New Mexico Activities Association Board of Directors voted in an 8-4 decision on May 28 to allow schools to begin summer sports programs, with some restrictions.

Teams are allowed to do conditioning-related activities, but cannot yet do drills involving direct contact. Each coach can only work with five student-athletes at a time, and no scrimmages can take place.

As of June 10, however, the NMAA allowed 50 percent capacity for weight rooms. Student-athletes can do repetitions, but not maximum lifts.

“It’s just (about) patience and understanding the situation. We’re going to make the most of it. We’re going to have fun. We’re going to get after it and enjoy it,” Aztec coach Eric Stovall said. “We have to pay attention to social distancing still… That way, the strength training and conditioning will go smooth.”

The Tigers are primarily emphasizing speed, agility, strength training and core training for now, while the Scorpions are largely stressing footwork.

Despite the current limitations, coaches and players aren't complaining.

"They're begging for more time. We're in a good place right now," Dalton said.

PV, Navajo Prep will start soon

The Panthers will start training camp at 7 a.m. Wednesday, while the Eagles will begin on June 22.

Prep's still waiting for safety equipment such as temperature gauges and Clorox wipes to arrive.

PV coach Jared Howell said his team was ready to go Monday, but he had to wait five days for COVID-19 test results after getting tested last week.

Howell said his test came back negative, but he didn't receive official confirmation until Sunday.

“We were just in a waiting pattern," Howell said. "You start to play those scenarios in your mind. You start to think about ‘man, I hope my test didn’t get lost.’ You’re just ready. Everybody’s thankful just to get out on the field.”

Even so, Howell said he planned on Wednesday as the tentative start date to be safe.

“We can proceed and get something done... I’m hoping it’s that first step toward normalcy," Howell said, adding PV will focus on basic agility drills Wednesday. “Hopefully, everybody adheres to the guidelines."

Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577 and on Twitter at @MattH_717.

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