FAIRFIELD — If you’re going to run the ball – and the Armijo High football team certainly plans to do just that – it helps that your biggest group of returning players is on the offensive line.
In fact, the Indians set a city record for most regular season carries with 454 last season, breaking the old city record of 451 set by Vanden in 1995 and the Armijo mark of 420 set in 2004. They also passed for just 226 yards in 2012.
Back for the Indians is its offensive line – right tackle Christian Marmelejo, right guard Danny Charos, center Tyler McGregor, left guard Chance Udell and left tackle Brad Nelson.
All are seniors, save for McGregor, a junior, a big part of just nine returning starters, six on offense, three on defense.
Others returning are fullback/linebacker Greg Forkes, cornerback Cameron McGregor and free safety Jeffrie Brown.
No wonder a primary concern for second-year coach Karl Finley is “keeping all the kids healthy. With the small number of seniors, we are still transitioning and building numbers.”
Finley sees as his biggest challenge dealing with inexperience at 80 percent of (the) positions, transitioning and playing at varsity speed from (JV) speeds.”
On the other hand, Armijo has large junior and sophomore classes, so the future looks bright.
Which is good, since the past, both recent and long-term, has been dreadful.
The Indians were 1-9 in 2012 and are 4-36 over the last four seasons.
They’ve dropped a school-record 28 straight Monticello Empire League games and have perhaps the longest playoff drought in the state – 75 years – last making the postseason in 1937.
That’s misleading since there were no playoffs in the Sac-Joaquin from 1940-1970 and had the current rules been in effect earlier, the Indians would’ve qualified every year from 2002 to 2005 and maybe 2006.
Finley is aware of Armijo’s struggles. All he wants of his team is “get an opportunity to vie for a playoff spot, play hard every play, play with sportsmanship at all times, even under adversity, learn teamwork and (understand) that hard work pays off during the rest of the season.”
For the Indians to have any shot at the playoffs, Finley said they need to “be fundamentally sound, get better every day (and) play as a unit.”
For this year’s team, it all starts up front.
Reach Paul Farmer at 425-4646, ext. 264, or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pfarmerdr.