By Mickey Winfield: PNT sports writer
Nevermind that this is Andy Correll’s first season as head football coach at Portales. Or that the Rams are entering district play this week with a junior quarterback having thrown four interceptions last week in a 25-0 loss at Roswell High.
Put all that aside for a moment.
If you ask Correll, the Rams are confident that they will dominate their district schedule, a schedule that begins tonight, as the Rams (2-4) host the winless Ruidoso Warriors (0-7) in both teams’ district opener at 7 p.m. at Greyhound Stadium.
“We’re wanting to sweep district, we want that district championship,” Correll said. “That’s going to mean a lot to us, and by doing that, we’ve got to take care of business those last three games. If we can go those last three at 3-0, than we don’t have to be worried about being voted in (to the playoffs). Right now, we want to be 3-0 when we’re done with district.”
Senior running back Eric Segovia says the team is confident heading into tonight’s contest.
“We’re very confident, we’re just ready to go. Ruidoso (and us) are probably the top two teams in district, and we want to make a statement (tonight),” Segovia said.
Despite Ruidoso head coach Ridge Bowden’s time at Artesia under pass-happy Cooper Henderson, Correll explains that the Warriors are running several plays out of a wishbone-type formation.
“Offensively, they’re going to get into kind of a bone look, with three running backs, double-split a couple of receivers, and they like to run the speed option, and the counter dives and leads, so, they will be able to spread it out and throw it.”
Correll also points to the Rams’ success defending the rush all season, and how that may force the Warriors to go to a passing attack.
Portales held Roswell’s passing offense to 155 yards and one touchdown last week at the Wool Bowl, proof, Correll says, that the Ram defense plays well against the run and the pass.
When the Rams have the ball, their mode of operation all season has been to run a combination of Eric Segovia, Cruz Ontiveros and quarterback Chris Mosier early and often, controlling the clock. Correll says to expect more of the same tonight, with some changes on the offensive line.
With Kaleb Aguirre out to injury, Correll has moved senior Matt Salazar to right guard to take advantage of his quickness, and junior Jacob Brady will be at center. The Rams hope these changes will jump-start the Rams’ running game.
“We try and expose things that the defense gives us. A lot of the defenses have been keyed in on Eric pretty hard and that does help Cruz and it helps Chris, and it will end up helping our offense,” Correll said.
Segovia agreed, and is looking forward to some new wrinkles on offense the Rams have been saving for district play.
“We’re going to keep running the same offense that we always do, of course we have some things that we’ve been working on for district, and we’re going to try and put them in now. But for the most part we’re going to just keep it simple, and keep doing what we’ve been doing,” Segovia said.