By Michael Kinney
The Moore American
MOORE — It was something new for senior Ryan Lujan. When coach Todd Watters took over the Moore football team last year, he brought with him a level of intensity and expectations. It was a combination Lujan hadn’t seen.
So even as Moore struggled through a 2-8 season, Watters never let up on his players. He never lowered his expectations. It’s something Lujan can now appreciate as they roll into the 2013 season looking to change the course of Moore football.
“I wasn’t used to it,” Lujan said. “I was used to coach (Scott) Myers’ coaching. Which, he was laid back, then get hard. But coach Watters was rough from the get-go. It was fast-paced. I wasn’t used to that. Now I’m getting used to it. I like it.”
What Watters doesn’t want his players getting used to is the losing. Even though the program hasn’t had a winning season in close to a decade, he has been trying to get across to the team that they do not have to accept it.
“Our expectations are that we are going to put together a championship team,” Watters said. “Whether it be district or state championship caliber team. Our expectations are always going to be extremely high for our kids. We are very demanding of the kids. Our kids have done a good job responding.”
Most of the Lions have taken Watters’ words to heart: Not letting the past dictate their future.
“Expectations are huge,” offensive guard Canaan Cook said. “We’re hoping to win. Hoping to get some Ws on that board. More than two. It will take hard work and leadership. Last year was tough. Mentally, emotionally and physically, it was al tough. Hopefully, we will have a better year.”
While the desire might be there, Moore is still trying to catch up to other 6A teams in overall talent. As in the past, many of their key players will see action on both sides of the ball.
That includes Evan Sprayberry, who played in the Lions’ secondary and wide receiver as a junior. This year, most of his focus will be on the defensive side.
“I want to see just a lot of big plays,” Sprayberry said. “That’s what I expect from myself. To help lead this defense to get stops. It’s huge because as long as we’re not on the field, they can’t score. We have to keep it out of their offense’s hands.”
Defense wasn’t the Lions’ biggest problem in 2012. It played solid enough to keep them in games deep into the fourth quarter.
However, they weren’t able to muster enough points offensively to take advantage most nights.
Moore will enter season with a new quarterback at the helm of Watters’ fast-break, spread option attack. By the third week of camp, he still hadn’t chosen between senior Jordan Bernhardy and sophomore K.J. Carrethers to man the position.
“You are very likely to see them both play in varsity,” Watters said. “Those two have stood out the most.”
But Lujan is back to lead the Lions’ charge from his running back position. He will see the bulk of the carries this year, which he says he’s ready for due to Watters challenging him.
“Coach has always been pushing me ever since he got here,” Lujan said. “The more he pushes, the more I go. He’s pushed me to the fine line to where I can push myself. I believe in myself and what I can do.”
Michael Kinney Follow me @eyeamtruth firstname.lastname@example.org