Russell Huffman, El Defensor Chieftain Asst. Editor

Hello Socorro!

I’m Russell Huffman. I can’t play. I can’t coach. And I can’t officiate, yet oddly enough, this qualifies me as the guy in charge of sports coverage in Socorro County.

I’m new to the area but was raised several hours north of here, living and going to school in the communities of Cuba, Regina and Llaves. I graduated from high school in Hanau, Germany, and attended Tarleton State University, where I went from being an enlisted soldier to receiving a U.S. Army ROTC commission.

Okay, I feel you beginning to nod off here, and there’s no reason to bore you with detail after detail like I love to trout fish, own way too many fishing poles, and my fur baby’s name is Peanut – instead, let me tell, you about my plans for sports coverage.

First off, the print newspaper isn’t going anywhere, but we’ve got a lot of space on the internet where you will find lots of photos of your favorite athletes. The internet is also where you will start seeing interviews in a “Take-5” format, where we get to learn more about our athletes and their hopes and dreams for the future.

The standard “gamer” stories are out the window. None of this Johnny Joe rushed for 150 yards on 20 carries.

I like to know what goes through a young person’s head when they pick up a fumbled football and race down the field for a touchdown (see my football game story). I want to know what the coach’s game plan was heading into the contest and their takeaway after.

I mentioned football first, but Caden Moreland’s defensive touchdown was exciting, and so was the Socorro County volleyball showdown between the Lady Warriors and the Magdalena Steers on Aug. 30.

I didn’t start working for the paper until Sept. 1, but there was no way I would miss this kind of county volleyball rivalry, and it certainly lived up to its billing with a 5-game match decided by a final 18-16 score.

It was the kind of match where in 10 years, it won’t matter who won because those girls and their families will be talking about the 2022 matchup when they gather on the holidays.

Today’s high school athletes won’t realize it for many years – but it’s not about the competition; it’s about the adventure of getting there.

So how does one person effectively cover three high schools? I will need help, and I plan to communicate with all of you.

I’m a decent sports photographer and have experience shooting multiple sporting contests on the same day. I plan to reach out to every coach to get the scoring plays, statistics, and takeaways from their games while I concentrate on capturing images.

If you are a coach, please put my cell phone number in your contacts (254-485-5236) and contact me with a phone call or text. Let’s talk about the best way to get your team covered. My email is [email protected]

Russell Huffman, El Defensor Chieftain Asst. Editor