There is a new quarterback in Hobbs, and his name is Omar Argott.
Hobbs head football coach Ken Stevens named Argott the Eagles’ next quarterback following the work he put in not only during the summer, but also during his previous two years with the Eagles as a member of the junior varsity team. Heading into the 2022-23 school year, Argott will be a senior, so like Michael Greenough a few years ago, he will only get to lineup under center for one season with the Eagles’ varsity squad.
The Eagles’ head coach didn’t want to slight any of the other players on the team, but he did single Argott out for his work ethic.
“It is hard to say this because we have a lot of hard workers and a lot of good kids on the team,” Stevens said, “but Omar is the hardest working kid we have got. I think what makes him special is that when you are quarterback, it is going to set the tone for the rest of the team and lead the way, by example and your work ethic. That is the kind of kid he is.”
According to the Eagles’ head coach, Argott was constantly in the weight room, he worked during the offseason with his receiving corps while also building relationships with them. He has also had two years of junior varsity experience where he learned the Eagles’ offense, what they do and how they run things.
“He has earned it. He has worked his way into that position,” Stevens said. “Those things all combined are what he has done to earn the job. He has earned the kids respect and the coaches respect.”
As for Argott, the opportunity to start at quarterback for the Eagles is something he has looked forward to since moving to Hobbs from Deming following his freshman year of high school.
“I was just patient. I would come to practice every day and perform the best I can,” Argott said of earning the starting quarterback nod. “I was just grinding and grinding until I got it.
“I have a lot of expectations,” he continued. “I have been working for this for a long time. I expect myself to do really good and make a lot of plays. (Coach Stevens) expects a lot from me. He has seen me play these last few years and he knows what I can do. He knows what I am capable of, so he is confident in me and I believe in myself too.”
Argott started playing football in the fifth grade. Back then, he lived in Deming. He moved to Hobbs after his freshman year of high school to be closer to his father. When he was younger, Argott played lineman and defensive end, but he moved to quarterback when he became a freshman at Deming High School.
The quarterback role is unlike any other in football. The quarterback runs the offense. Basically, he is the field general. The coaches will call the plays, but the quarterback is the one who sets up everything and puts it all in motion.
“There is a lot of pressure, but I like it,” Argott said. “It puts a lot of pressure on me, but I like the pressure.”
That pressure is something that Argott thrives on. The senior-to-be takes pride in knowing that he can help his team to succeed.
“When you see yourself make a nice throw and everyone gets hyped that you made that throw and made that play, it feels really good,” Argott said. “I like to help the team out and make good plays.”
Tom Brady is one of the quarterbacks that Argott admires.
“His accuracy and stuff like that,” Argot said. “His arm and the way he reads plays. It is just amazing. That is what I like to do.”
A lot of athletes will attend offseason camps where they get a chance to work with so-called experts, but not Argott. The senior to be has never attended any of those camps to work on his game. But, Argott did have a chance to workout Gavin Hardison, the starting quarterback at University of Texas El Paso. Hardison, holds the single season passing record in New Mexico with 5,347 yards, returned to Hobbs High School during the Eagles summer drills in June and worked with the team.
“It was a lot of fun,” Argott said of working with Hardison. “He taught us a lot of stuff about footwork and that really helped me a lot as well as learning how to throw the ball better and get a better spiral. That was pretty fun.”
Meeting a starting quarterback at the NCAA Division I level was a first for Argott.
“I had never met someone in the college level,” he said of meeting Hardison. “I saw him and was like, he is just a person. I felt like I can do the same thing he did, hopefully.”
Hardison, who led the Miners to a 7-6 record and a berth in the 2022 Albuquerque Bowl, liked what he saw from Argot.
“What stood out to me is he is really athletic and has a big arm,” the former Hobbs quarterback said. “He works really, really hard, so nothing but upside and a bright future for him.”
Stevens believes Argott getting the chance to work with Hardison, a 2019 Hobbs graduate, will only make him better.
“I think that helped him tremendously,” the Eagles’ coach said. “I think Gavin was able to work one-on-one with him a little bit and give him some tips and some insights that the rest of us might not have from not playing at the college level. I think it helped boost his confidence too.”
During his time on the junior varsity team, Argott was able to build relationships with his players. This year he will have several of his JV receivers moving to varsity with him. Jeremiah Jaquez, who will be a junior this year, is one of those receivers.
“Last year me an Omar started off kind of rough, but as soon as we started playing, we started throwing after practice and we really got that connection,” Jaquez said. “Right now it is really showing.”
The junior wideout believes the two of them moving up to varsity together will make the transition easier because of their knowledge of each other.
“We have been playing with each other for a year now,” Jaquez said. “So it is just easier. He already knows my speed and my route running. It will be easier for him to get the ball to me because he knows me so well.”
But, Argott wasn’t happy just relying on the relationships he had already built on the JV squad. Taking what he learned a season ago as the JV quarterback, when the season ended, Argott immediately got to work building relationships and chemistry with the Eagles’ returning receiving corps. He started working right away, getting to know returning receivers Kaden Trevino, Ethan Vanlandingham, and Evan Ortega.
“It is definitely something new,” Trevino said of Argott. “I played with Colton (Graham) for two straight years and me and him had a good connection. Switching up to Omar is a lot different, but we are starting to create a connection and it is looking good for the team this year.”
Trevino, who is getting ready for his third year on varsity, hopes to help make the transition easier for Argott.
“There are a lot of things he needs to work on. There are a lot of things he needs to catch up on,” Trevino said. “There are things that I have seen in the years past that I have learned that I can help him with, at quarterback and receiver. I think my experience really helps him develop for where he needs to be.”
As a junior, Argott played late during several games, with the outcome already decided. He threw 13 passes, five of which were completed. He had 71 yards passing, but did not throw a touchdown pass. All 71 yards came in the Eagles season-ending loss to Cleveland in the second round of the NMAA playoffs. He also had 200 yards rushing during those games, including scoring his first varsity touchdown in a win over rival Carlsbad.
“Varsity and JV are completely different,” Argott said. “I would always see varsity play and it would be really fast, but JV, the time I spent there, it was really kind of slow. So that really developed me in learning to read the plays and read the defense. … Now, at the varsity level, it feels much easier.”
Hobbs has had some good quarterbacks over the past decade. Players like Isaac Amaya (2014-15), Hardison (2016-17), and Colton Graham (2020-21) all had the opportunity to line up under center and run the offense for two years. Jarren Lewis would have had the opportunity to play for two years, but moved out of state when New Mexico cancelled all sports because of the COVID-pandemic.
While Argott didn’t have the opportunity to see Amaya or Hardison play, he did get to watch Graham for two years.
“Colton was so calm in the pocket and he would read it right,” Argott said. “That is what I learned from him, staying calm, throwing a nice ball, and following through ,the technique.”
Hardison set the NMAA single-season record for passing yards in a season in 2017. Two years prior, Amaya became the first ever Hobbs quarterback to eclipse 4,000 yards passing. The two quarterbacks own the top 10 single-game passing records in Hobbs history. Hardison and Amaya are the top two in career passing for Hobbs. Hardison piled up 8,678 yards while Amaya finished with 6,241.
Then there is Graham. Unfortunately for him, he had the dubious honor of being the Eagles starting quarterback during the COVID-pandemic. Because of that, he only got half a schedule his first year under center. Still, the 2022 Hobbs graduate finished with 3,286 passing yards, fourth most in Hobbs history. As for Lewis, he had 2,964 yards while starting as a junior and seeing some action as a sophomore when the Eagles’ 2018 starting quarterback, Greenough, was out with injuries,
“He just needs to relax, have fun, and make good decisions,” Hardison said. “That is really what it comes down to, making good decisions. If you make good decisions as a quarterback, you are going to be successful.”
While Argott will have only one year under center for the Eagles, Stevens isn’t worried about that being an issue.
“Because of the work ethic that he has and I think being able to play a lot of JV last year and then we were fortunate enough to have some (varsity) games where we were able to get him into the game and get some varsity reps last year,” Stevens said. “He played against Carlsbad. He played against Lovington. He got in against Cleveland. He got into a couple of games and got to play some.”
“I don’t think it will be too difficult for him,” the UTEP starting quartering back said of Argott having only one year to play varsity. “He can adjust to the speed of things, but he is a big kid and has a big arm and that will help him to adjust fast. I think he will be find, adjusting to the speed of the game.”
Overall, the most important thing that Stevens wants from Argott, is for the senior-to-be quarterback to be himself and play his game.
“I just want him to be Omar,” Stevens said. “I want him to go out and compete at the very best every week. I want him to stay positive and keep his head up, to be great leader for us, and to play at the best of his ability.”
As for Argott, every time he is on the gridiron he is doing one thing, having fun.
“With these guys, we are just having a lot of fun playing this game,” he said. “I am really excited at putting everything I have learned into playing this game and to succeeding. Hopefully we win some games.”