Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012 | 2:05 a.m.
Bill Froman became the Chaparral High football coach last May. By then, it was too late to fix the program’s biggest weaknesses: the players’ overall strength.
Froman was the team’s third head coach in four years and knew from the first practice that his players lacked the proper weight training to be competitive. They won just one game.
In fact, the Cowboys have just two wins in the past three years — both coming against Sunrise Mountain, which hasn’t won in four seasons — and hasn’t been to the playoffs in five years.
“Last year, we weren’t very good at anything. It’s that simple,” Froman said. “We had nice kids. We just didn’t know much about football.”
So, as soon as the clock expired in the final game, Froman organized a massive offseason program in the weight room. The result was even better than he expected.
Chaparral won the National High School Power Clean Championships, and virtually every player has seen a dramatic increase in multiple lifts. For instance, 35 players in the program back-squat more than 300 pounds. Last year, just three accomplished the feat.
“These kids aren’t going to be pushed around this year,” Froman said.
Chaparral will be led by senior running back Antonio Thomas (6-foot-1, 170 pounds), who rushed for 848 yards and 11 touchdowns last year and was their lone offensive threat. He’s added about 30 pounds of muscle and could be in for a breakthrough season, the coach said.
“He’s faster and getting out of his breaks better,” Froman said. “You want to talk about a good kid, he’s just a gentleman. I wish I had more like him.”
Will Hernandez, at 6-foot-4, 285 pounds, will be a force up front at offensive guard and defensive end. He’s received recruiting interest from several Division I schools.
Other players Froman expects to make an impact include: seniors Maistro Bobo at defensive back and Tyquan Anderson at fullback, and junior Damien Guthrie on the line. Bobo is undersized at about 5-foot-5, but Froman said he doesn’t back down from the opposition.
“He’s a little guy, but he can play,” he said.
Chaparral is part of the six-team Sunrise Region of the new Division I-A. With four teams making the playoffs, Froman knows the offseason work could result in the ultimate prize of a trip to the playoffs.
“We are trying to give the kids some confidence,” he said. “When you have never won, or you haven’t won much, we are trying to make each day competitive in practice to give them small victories to build their confidence.”
Chaparral High School has seen better days.
Once among the top performing schools in the Clark County School District, Chaparral High is undergoing changes to counter dismal test scores and the lowest graduation rate in the district.
The campus located near East Flamingo Road and U.S. 95 is one of five turnaround schools not meeting the expectations outlined in No Child Left Behind.
Chaparral is now looking to clean up its reputation, touching every aspect of the school from restrooms to test scores.
Changes weren’t received well by students who openly protested the cuts to faculty and the new order that banned the use of cell phones and music players during the school day.
Under stricter rules, tardy students are locked out of classrooms, bathroom breaks during class time aren’t allowed and the lunch hour was pushed back to 1:40 p.m.
Superintendent Dwight Jones told students he’s not settling for half successes.
“Right now, 50 percent of the kids in this school don’t graduate high school. Is that acceptable to you? Think about that. Right now, some of the friends that you’re with aren’t going to graduate. Is that OK? That’s unacceptable to me. I think you guys ought to kick all of us out.”
- Year built:
- Principal (Year Hired):
- David Wilson (2011)
- Approximately 2,250
- School Report Card:
Compiled by Gregan Wingert