MONAHANS, Texas (KMID/KPEJ) – The Monahans Loboes turn for the 2023 season, still on a high from a magical 2022. Head coach Fred Staugh and company overcame an 0-3 record to go on and win 10 consecutive games to vault the Loboes into the 4A Division II Regional Finals, the deepest playoff run that any Permian Basin team made.

“We just had to come together and realize, hey, we wanted to win and we’re tired of losing,” senior quarterback Cheno Navarrette said.

“Amazing. Never felt a better moment,” senior receiver Nathan Wessels said.

Navarrette was instrumental in the Loboes’ season turnaround. A true dual threat, Navarrette rushed for 2,088 yards and 34 touchdowns as well as 1,411 passing yards and nine passing touchdowns, which earned him honorable mention All-State honors.

Navarette returns for his third season as the Loboes’ starting quarterback, with an added emphasis this year on the passing game.

“Hopefully we can throw the ball a lot more than we did this last year and kill them with our speed,” Navarrette said.

Navarrette has a veteran arsenal of weapons at the receiver position, including Wessels as well as senior Ben Cordova, who also went to state for track last year.

This Monahans team is seasoned, with a unique experience that few other teams in Texas have. In the past two years combined, the Loboes have played 27 total games and had seven extra weeks of practice because of back-to-back playoff runs. The minimum season length is 10 games.

The Loboes have a high bar once again, but coach Staugh also wants to ensure his team stays grounded in the moment and doesn’t get ahead of itself.

“Obviously we want to go 10-0, we want to win playoff games, we want to play in December again, ultimately, you want to win a state championship, but like I said before, we don’t focus on that day to day. What we focus on day to day is us and getting better every day and making sure we’re doing the right things,” Staugh said.

Dave Campbell’s Texas Football magazine predicted the Loboes would once again be the champions of district 1-4A Division II, and named Navarratte as the pre-season offensive MVP.

Monahans opens its season at home against the Shallowater Mustangs on Aug. 25.

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