Raton Tigers Prepare for Season Opener
The Chronicle News
A nip in the morning air signals a change in seasons and the long awaited start to another high school football season as the Raton Tigers prepare for their season opener at home Friday night against the Tucumcari Rattlers.
Raton took to the field last week against both Santa Rosa and Trinidad in a three-team scrimmage that allowed coaches to get some idea of what they will have to work on for the upcoming game. According to Raton head coach Brock Walton “We have some things to work on and we have some good things.” Walton looks to his offense and indicates that is the tough one, as the boys have to learn a slightly new system.
They are also under new leadership at the quarterback spot with senior Cam Baird. Senior Toby Henson, who played QB last year, moves back to his original position at wide receiver. Walton is pleased with this setup saying “this is a more natural position for Toby.”
Walton is looking at the defense in this first game to be the group that keeps them in the game, indicating that Tucumcari is a tough team made up with a bunch of tough farm boys. They have good running backs and they know how to run. He added, “We are going to have to come to play.”
Raton has always been a throwing team and that will likely not change much as Cam Baird, at 6’ 2”, can see over his offensive line to spot the open receivers. Baird however only returned to football last year after taking a couple of years off to focus on other things. Walton indicated that Baird had been working hard to learn the offense and fill the QB spot.
Raton is returning 14 seniors to the team giving them the needed experience to help the underclassmen learn the Tiger system and make the smart plays. The seniors are also filling the key positions with Jordan Mendez at running back and several filling the holes on the defensive line as well as the offensive line. Six juniors, seven sophomores and seven freshmen fill out the roster for the Tigers.
One thing the coaches did realize is that the team has to be in shape, as many players will be pulling double duty working both sides of the ball. They started during the summer having the boys work out on their own doing strength and endurance exercises.
The Tigers start the season out with the three home games before going on the road. Raton will host the Coal Bucket game on September 6 against Trinidad and this is a highly anticipated game as Raton looks to bring the bucket home.