ENGLEWOOD — When asked which coach was tougher on them, the La Junta football players looked nervously at each other, then down the table.
Sitting in the confines of the Pat Bowlen Fieldhouse at the UC Health Training Center, Ty Buderus awaited their answer. They conceded that it was the new guy and not his brother Clint, the man who guided them to the 2016 Class 2A state title.
But it was all in good fun and part of the experience of the Broncos' first high school football media day. They all laughed about it before admitting that the brothers are very similar, just have their expertise in different areas of the game.
"Clint was offensive-minded," senior quarterback Jon Nuschy said. "He ran the offense and Ty ran the defense and he’s just a defensive mind. Practice is more up-tempo with Ty because he pushes us a lot. I hope we go far for him because he deserves this.”
Ty was on on staff under Clint. When Clint took the job at Pueblo West, Ty was the natural successor for the position. Having been on staff, the transition into the head job was fairly seamless for Ty.
"It was an easy transition with being around it that long," Ty said. "I’m just stepping in and taking over a few different roles that I didn’t have last year. It was a nice, easy transition.”
It helps that he has plenty of talent returning from last year which includes Nuschy, a two-time 2A player of the year. He ran for over 1,300 yards a year ago and scored 22 touchdowns. He was also success through the air when he needed to be, throwing for 679 yards and nine touchdowns.
Nuschy has helped the Tigers reach the 2A title game the last two seasons. Two years ago they topped Kent Denver 17-10. Last season the Tigers came up short of the state championship, losing to Bayfield 34-7.
Still, all-state voters took note of what Nuschy was able to do for his team. He doesn't buy into too much, however. He would rather come away with a state title than a player of the year nod. He doesn't let the recognition change his approach to the game and thinks there aren't many people to pay too much attention, save for one playoff rival from the last few years.
"I don’t think a lot of people really look at it except for Bayfield," Nuschy said. "I know Bayfield does. We just go into each game not scared and trying to do our best. I’m going to do my best and I know my line has my back and they’ll block for me the best they can.”
And the Tigers feel they'll continue to be successful with that mindset. After advancing to the 2A title game the last two years, it's hard for La Junta to settle for anything less. But they also know they can't just expect the same result to keep happening.
They have to keep working and continue to go about the season they way they have in recent years. If they can do that, they feel the wins will follow them.
“You want to keep that kind of mindset," Buderus said. "Right now, we’re worried about game one and winning that one and then we’ll move on to the next one. We can’t look too far ahead. We just have to take it one game at a time and the hard work will pay off.”