PNT Staff Report
For the second straight year, the Raton Tigers (1-1) have the opportunity to be the Portales Rams (0-3) first football victim of the season — but this time, the game is at Greyhound Stadium (7 p.m.) and it’s homecoming.
In their meeting last year, the Ram’s dominated for the first win of the Correll administration. The Portales defense held the Raton offense to just four total yards in the first half, while Portales accumulated 208 yards on the ground and 311 yards of total offense.
But Correll says this game will be different.
“Raton’s a much improved team from last year,” Correll said. “They didn’t lose too many from their squad last year and they’re good so we’ve got our work cut out for us.”
“They’re kind of like us,” Correll said. “They’ve got a year under their belt in this system. They’ve got some good looking kids. They’re big, they’ve got a little bit of speed. What they do, they do very well and we’ll definitely have to execute at a good level to play with them.”
Starting the season with losses to three good teams in Las Vegas-Robertson, Wichita Falls-Hirschi and Slaton, Correll says he gathered his team together on Thursday with a special message.
“I talked to them today about busting through the wall. We keep hitting the wall and it’s time for them to go ahead and break through,” Correll said. “I really think these kids have worked hard and it’s tough for them to (lose).”
Correll also knows his team must find their identity before their district schedule starts.
“We’re still in the process of trying to find who we are,” Correll said. “Definitely a win would be big for us.”
Correll is looking for a better effort then the Rams gave last week in a 21-6 loss at home to Slaton, a game in which Correll says the Rams made several mental mistakes.
“We’ve had a good week (of practice),” Correll said. “We really tried to clean up some stuff that we saw break down last Friday night. A lot of it was just mental (like) fumbling the ball on the one, not recovering a kick-off. Those are things that we can’t afford to do at all, so we really tried to focus on that and get that cleaned up.”
Like last season, Correll believes it will take that first win, to get his guys going.”
“We just haven’t found who we are, just yet. That’s just going to come with experience,” Correll said. “Getting over that hump, and getting that first win will really set us off.”