By Kevin Wilson: PNT Staff Writer
Though they feel they have played well at points, the Portales Rams come into their homecoming game with a record that indicates they haven’t played well since mid-September. Tonight’s opponent certainly understands such struggles.
Tonight’s matchup between the Rams and the Roswell Coyotes pits a pair of teams that have each managed two wins on the season — Portales is 2-4 and coming off a bye week, while Roswell is 2-5 after last week’s 34-26 win over Deming.
Portales coach Glenn Johnson feels that Roswell has a deceptive record, especially considering its win over Deming and a 28-25 loss to Lovington, which featured a 22-point fourth quarter for the Coyotes.
“They’re kind of in the same boat as we are,” Johnson said. “They’ve played some very good football teams. They’re a very good football team, a very explosive offense.”
However, it’s the special teams improvement that Roswell coach Barey Chambers is crediting.
““We blocked a punt for a touchdown, so that helped,” Chambers said of the win over the Wildcats. “Before this last game, we’ve been snakebitten on the special teams, either allowing poor field positions or we’ve had poor snaps. We’ve worked really hard in the past few weeks, so I’m less anxious (when we have to punt).”
When they’re on offense, count on the Coyotes to throw the ball. Chambers estimates their pass-to-run ratio is about 4-to-1.
“It doesn’t matter what time of the game it is — we’ll throw the ball,” Chambers said. “We’ll throw (whether we’re) ahead or behind. That’s what we’re set up to do with the kids that we have.”
Portales, meanwhile, plans to play its same defense.
“We’ve lined up so far this year against powerhouse running football teams, we’ve lined up against throwing teams,” Johnson said. “I feel like we’re balanced on defense. The key to it’s going to be execution.”
That, and intensity, senior guard/linebacker Alonso Ontiveros said.
“They’re beatable,” Ontiveros said of Roswell. “We just need to execute, keep up on intensity the whole game.”
Portales’ biggest problem has been falling into early deficits and not doing much damage later on, if they do any damage at all. During the four-game losing streak, the Rams have managed just 18 points (10 against Artesia last week).
Chambers, a 1973 PHS graduate, felt that was a credit to the tough schedule Portales has played.
“They moved the ball against Goddard and did a good job of it. It’s pretty hard to do that,” Chambers said. “Against Artesia, they did some things right. What you look at is what they do right and what you have to do to stop it rather than what the score is.”