By Mickey Winfield, PNT Staff Writer
The Portales coaching staff believes their team will bounce back after a tough road loss last Saturday as the Rams host Slaton, Texas at Greyhound Stadium (7 p.m.)
“If we just try to get better every week, the wins will come eventually,” Ram assistant coach and defensive coordinator Mark McAfee said. “We’re looking for us to be a better football team Friday night than we were last Saturday.”
Saturday, the Rams (0-2) lost to Wichita Falls-Hirschi 31-6 in Lubbock.
“We had some bright spots,” McAfee said. “We match up a little bit better with Slaton. They do have some speed, but I don’t think it’s near what Hirschi had. I just hope the guys are ready to go out there and give it everything they have.”
In Saturday’s loss the Rams also lost junior middle linebacker Cody Creek for the season with a knee injury, and McAfee says junior defender Eric Aguilar will take Creek’s place.
“(It’s a) brand new position for him. He took a crash course the last two days — he looked a lot better (Wednesday) than he did Tuesday,” McAfee said. “He’s going to be all right.”
“The thing is, (Cody) was playing really well for us,” Ram head coach Andy Correll said. “We’ve got to have some kids step up and play for us.”
Correll also said the Rams short week has been their best week of practice so far this season.
“I really expect a good ball game out of our kids,” Correll said. “We put in a couple more passing series. Some stuff that nobody’s seen yet from us and the kids really picked up on it and corrected some things that broke down Saturday. I just think we definitely got better as the week went on.”
“When the games count, is when you hit district,” McAfee said. “Yeah, it’s important to win, but it’s important to do things right, and that’s what we’re stressing right now.”
Both Correll and McAfee say that the Slaton team they’ll face tonight, is a much different team than the one that dominated the Rams last year 36-13.
“(They’re) totally, totally different,” McAfee said. “They’re going to look a lot like us, but they’re not going to throw the football as much as we do. They’re going to spread you out and try to run the football.”
“They’re going to spread it out,” Correll said. “They still generally run it more than they throw it.”
McAfee indicated the Rams will have to defend the run, but also to look out for the big play.
“We can’t be lulled to sleep and let them have the big one like we did against Robertson,” McAfee said.
The Rams allowed two long passes for touchdowns in the first half of Portales’ season opener late last month against Las Vegas-Robertson.