Cooper Bowman faded back to pass. He looked deep down field and found his target streaking toward the end zone. He launched a pass, hitting Buddy Dillow Jr. in stride. Dillow slipped a tackle and raced across the goal line for a touchdown.
After a turnover, Bowman went back to work, firing a pass underneath the zone to Wayland Clark in the right flat. Clark put on some flashy moves, zigzagging down field and into the end zone for another touchdown.
It was only a seven-on-seven passing scrimmage, capping off the Los Lunas High School football team’s youth clinic on Thursday. But, some day, these same kids may be scoring touchdowns on the same field as members of the Tiger football team.
Head coach Avilio Chavez hopes so. The camp is intended to teach football skills that result in touchdowns, or the prevention thereof, from the defensive perspective. At least that was half the purpose.
“It’s a combination of two things: learning some football and having fun,” Chavez said. “If we accomplished those two things, it’s been a successful camp. And I think we did.”
Helping to make the camp successful was the Tigers’ booster club.
“We helped prepare the food and serve the food and helped with anything the boys needed,” said Kathy Apodaca, the club’s secretary.
The boosters served up an astonishing 260 hot dogs to feed the crew. “We had to feed some of them three or four hot dogs to satisfy them.”
The boys built up quite a hunger after going through the morning session, which focused on individual offensive and defensive skills. “I learned how to back peddle and how to play safety,” said 11-year-old Tyler East, a member of the Los Lunas Wildcats Young American Football League team.
The camp also served as a link between the high school program and YAFL, which serves as a feeder system for the Tigers. Most of the more than 60 players who turned out were YAFL players. Eight Los Lunas YAFL coaches also attended.
Instruction was provided by the Tigers’ varsity coaching staff and players. “We feel that, by this point in time, all the kids should know what they’re doing,” Chavez said of his players. “And it gives them a taste of coaching — gives them a taste of what we go though as coaches. So, in that way, it was good for them too.”
Mark Delgado is expected to lead the Tigers at quarterback this season. He said he’d like to go into coaching some day, so even he learned something from the camp.
“It’s like being in the opposite role — you see how it is from the coaches perspective,” he said. “You kind of feel more sympathetic for the coaches. It’s harder than you think. It’s a lot harder than you think.
“But I like showing these guys what to do. It’s cool.”
Delgado’s future as a coach looks bright. The seven-on-seven team he coached, the Cowboys, blew open a close game with the big-play touchdowns by Dillow and Clark to defeat their opponents, the Nobodies, 35-18.
“It’s all right,” said losing coach Alex Sanchez, an outside linebacker on the Tiger varsity. “We were having fun.”