Heath Ridenour doesn’t feel out of place coaching Portales High football even though he played football for one of the Rams’ biggest rivals.
The former Lovington High and Eastern New Mexico University quarterback is finishing his college degree this fall doing his student teaching at PHS — and also helping Rams coach Glenn Johnson in the football program.
“It’s a little different,” Ridenour said. “But I’m coaching here, so I’m going to do it all the way.”
Another former Eastern standout, wide receiver Cale Sanders, is also helping with the football program while doing his student teaching.
Ridenour, a business major, served as a grad assistant at ENMU last fall.
“It’s nice to be a part of different programs,” he said. “It gives me a broad view of the coaching spectrum.”
Ridenour played in Arena Football2 last season at Wichita, Kan., Because of tendinitis in his shoulder, he missed the first seven games of the season.
Ridenour said he played in most of the games when was available and started the last three. The Stealth, whose roster also included former Greyhounds Jimmy Hamilton and Dustin Fish, finished 8-8 but missed the AF2 playoffs.
He said he’s looking into playing in AF2 again next year.
“I’m in contact with a few teams,” he said. “Some of them want me to come in. We’ll see how I feel when November and December roll around.”
Sanders was one of the Lone Star Conference’s better players in 2001, but missed all but a few plays of the last two seasons due to injuries — a torn pectoral muscle in 2002 and a sports hernia last year, both occurring in August.
He, too, is looking at arena ball with an eye toward possibly bigger things in the future.
“I feel like I can just start working out full-speed again,” said Sanders, a Roswell Goddard alumnus who will graduate in biology in December. “My agent’s got some tryouts lined up for September and October, and we’ll go from there. I’m preparing just like I would for (the start of) a season.
“My plan is to teach and coach if football doesn’t work out.”
Rams scrimmage — Johnson led the team through a 2 1/2-hour controlled scrimmage on Saturday morning at the PHS practice field.
Senior quarterback Tyler Rutherford was not on hand. He was in Los Angeles taking part in a Dodgers-sponsored baseball camp, Johnson said.
“But it was good to see the offense execute with (sophomore) Mario (Salazar) and (senior) Chris Carter (at QB),” he added. “We wanted to get some things on video to evaluate our kids and see where we are after a week of two-a-days.”
The Rams are slated to host Littlefield, Texas, in a 6 p.m. scrimmage Thursday at their practice facility.
“That’s going to be a tremendous test,” he said.