By Dave Wagner
After opening the season with three victories, the Portales Rams were brought back to earth last week by Denver City, Texas.
They have their work cut out trying to get back on track on Friday when they host Class 4A Roswell Goddard in a 7 p.m. kickoff at Blackwater Draw.
Rams coach Glenn Johnson, whose team stayed No. 1 in the Associated Press Class 3A poll this week despite the loss, said the Rockets (2-2) will provide a stiff challenge.
Goddard is coming off a wild 47-41 win last week over Class 5A Hobbs.
“They’re a very good, athletic football team,” Johnson said. “They run the ball as well as they throw it. They love to spread you out and get as many 1-on-1 battles as possible.”
The Rams knew they would be severely challenged at Denver City, but they were disappointed now to play any better against a Mustangs team which came in 0-2 but dominated pretty much from start to finish.
Johnson said the Rams have bounced back in practice this week, with the start of District 4-3A play still several weeks down the line.
The good news, he added, is that the team is relatively healthy at this point in the season.
“Our main concern in our predistrict play is how well we jell as a football team, and how much better we get as individual players and as units — offense, defense and special teams,” he said.
“It doesn’t matter who we line up against at this point in the season. It’s a matter of how we perform on Friday nights.”
Johnson said the Rams are striving to develop consistency.
“We’ve yet to play four good quarters of football, and we need to do that,” he said.
In the past, Goddard has lined up in more of a tight formation, Johnson said. This is the first year the Rockets have spread things out, and he said it will provide a stiff challenge to his defensive unit.
After this week, the Rams have an open date on the schedule before finishing predistrict play against Roswell High and Artesia.
“I think the open date’s going to come at a good time,” Johnson said. “We’ll have had an opportunity to play five ballgames and evaluate our personnel.”
Goddard coach Sam Jernigan could not be reached for comment.