By Kim West
The numbers were not kind to Clements last year but former Rogers coach Dan Beavers arrived in time for spring drills to re-shod the Colts with an emphasis on building depth and strength.
Beavers and a roster led by 13 seniors are trying to revitalize a Clements program that qualified for the playoffs from 2007 to 2009, but then posted three straight 1-9 campaigns.
Beavers, who recovered from a 30-foot ladder fall in mid-July in time to lead the start of August practice, led Rogers to seven playoff berths in 11 seasons, including an 11-3 record and an appearance in the Class 3A semifinals.
After battling a slew of injuries and a lack of depth, Clements nearly doubled its size to a 40-player roster.
“We have more players out — 40 players on the varsity roster. My first day here, we had 16 kids in athletic P.E. so having more players is a big plus,” said Beavers. “Our biggest goal this summer is getting stronger and hitting the weight room. All of our seniors have been here this summer and done everything we asked them to do.”
He said his coaching staff, which includes offensive coordinator Zach Meadows, defensive coordinator Daniel Garrett and special teams coach Nathan Sawyer, is focused on continuing the improvement shown from the first day of spring and throughout the summer as Clements prepares for the gauntlet of Class 3A, Region 8.
“Right now the players are getting after it in practice, and we’re focused on one play at a time,” said Beavers. “Region 8 is the toughest region in the state but if you get into the playoffs, then you have a good chance to advance to the second round of the playoffs.”
Beavers will abandon the spread offense Clements ran last season for a more run-oriented attack this year.
“We have a chance to be competitive with anybody on offense if we can keep possession of the ball,” said Beavers. “We’ll have to throw some, but we’re going to run and be a hard-nosed, blue-collar type of team.”
That doesn’t mean the Colts won’t try to get the ball in the hands of their playmakers at every opportunity. Players like DeMarcus Johnson and Jimmy Marsh can change a game on a single play.
“We have guys that can run, which gives you extra time to recover if you make a mistake on defense,” Beavers said. . “Jimmy’s done a great job at quarterback, and DeMarcus has a chance to have a big year.”
Players like Johnson and Marsh played both ways almost every play last season. With a few more players on the roster, Beavers said he hopes to avoid a similar scenario this season.
“We have 15 or 16 guys that can play defense. We’ve got more depth on defense than on offense,” said Beavers.
-Jonathan Deal contributed to this report