Dolores football: A new era
First year head coach intent on achieving success
Drive by the Dolores High School football field after school. Notice the pristine, freshly cut, grass. Take note of the new pop-up tackling sled. Watch the team practice. Lines are straight, routes are crisp and focus permeates the air.
Yep, a new era is beginning for the Dolores High School football team. With a new head coach, a new level of focus and a new offense, the 2013 season with high expectations. No doubt, the Bears are a team headed in the right direction, and for the team's dedicated fan base, movement in the right direction is a good thing.
To understand Dolores football's new direction, one must first understand first-year head coach Chris Trusler. A former Marine from Florida who has coached in youth leagues, high schools and even at the semi-pro level, Trusler demands dedication and accountability.
Already, Trusler's no-nonsense attitude is paying off in the form of increased attendance at voluntary workouts and previously unheard-of dedication in the weight room.
"One thing that we have been able to do is really step up the commitment of the kids to the weight room," said Trusler. "Team members recently participated in a Lift-A-Thon, and we attended a 7-on-7 camp at Fort Lewis. It has been a productive summer."
To translate that production into success, this year's Dolores team will rely heavily on senior tight end Easton Upton, senior fullback/linebacker Rusher Ammon and senior lineman Evan Moore. Combining a wealth of on-field experience with a willingness to lead off the field, there is no reason to believe that this year's seniors will be unable to anchor the team.
"(Upton) is an outstanding athlete and he has great hands," said Trusler. "(Ammon) is a real good leader on the field. (Moore) is a good kid. He has been working out real strong and he's going to be a major contributor."
Combining with the team's three seniors, who look to be locked in to their respective positions, a number of young players will battle for playing time.
"I have no bias to any of the guys," said Trusler. "Whoever earns a spot, that's who will get it."
Across the practice field, players appeared focused, engaged and ready to go.
"I like the whole new layout of what we have going on here," said Upton. "All the new kids coming out and the new commitment that our team has is exciting. I'm hoping to have a winning season."
In terms of game planning, Trusler will use a diverse offense and a team-oriented defensive approach. Emphasizing strengths and covering weaknesses will be critical, and each player will be relied on to contribute.
"You have to know your strengths and weaknesses," said Trusler. "At a smaller school, the odds of having standout athletes are less. Therefore, it is important to be diverse. We are going to be a lot more diverse in what we do."
After opening the season Sept. 6 on the road against Bayfield, Dolores will face defending 1A state champion Cedaredge on Sept. 13 before returning home to face Paonia on Sept. 20. Dolores will then play Center, Monte Vista and Centauri before concluding the regular season against league rival Ignacio on Oct. 25.
Clearly eager for the season to start, players and coaches are quick to emphasize the responsibility that comes along with playing football for the Dolores Bears.
"Football is a big deal around here," said Ammon. "When you play football (in Dolores), people look up to you. We want to show everyone that we are responsible and respectful. This program is really working hard to help us grow into good men."
Clearly, the Dolores High School football program is headed in a new direction. Fasten your seat belts, folks, because football fans are in for an exciting season, as well as an exciting future.