By Mickey Winfield Freedom newspapers
Nobody gave the Portales Ram football team respect all season, so why start now?
Despite shocking many by winning Class 3A football runner-up status, just one Ram made the All-State first team.
“I shouldn’t have been shocked after the way the north seeded us (seventh in the state playoffs),” Ram defensive coordinator Mark McAfee said.
Defensive lineman Erett Grubbs was the lone Ram on the first team, while the anchor of the Rams offensive line, Chris Christensen was the only Ram to make the second team.
McAfee and Ram head coach Andy Correll both were amazed by one glaring omission.
“(Portales Linebacker) Taylor Teague should have been up there,” Correll said. “Taylor had as many tackles as anybody in the state, and he got slighted to honorable mention.”
“(Taylor) was the leader of my bunch,” McAfee said. “He was my defensive quarterback, so I put a lot of pressure on him and he was able to step up week-after-week. For him to get overlooked, it’s just not right.”
Correll believes the system is currently tilted to benefit schools and players in northern New Mexico at the expense of deserving athletes in the south.
“If you look at the list, it’s northern dominated, and that’s the political end of it,” Correll said. “I just think that’s how they want to do it and it’s not going to change until we change it in the south.”
Socorro, St. Mike’s and Hot Springs each placed five players on the list, while the state champion Robertson Cardinals got four on the first team.
The Rams did post four players in the 3A honorable mention list including seniors Eric Segovia, Matt Pena, Teague, and junior quarterback Chris Mosier.
Even without postseason recognition, McAfee knows the Portales kids are happy knowing they did something special this season.
“I think our kids can walk away knowing that we did what very, very few people even thought possible,” McAfee said.