By Mickey Winfield, PNT Staff Writer
A sleeping giant.
That’s how Portales Ram head football coach Andy Correll and defensive coordinator Mark McAfee both described their Ram football team this season.
Both coaches hope their slumbering behemoth (0-4) wakes up tonight at Roswell’s Wool Bowl against the Class 4A Goddard Rockets (3-1).
“The biggest thing is the kids just still haven’t quite believed in themselves,” Correll said. “I really think we’re a sleeping giant that can awaken at anytime, and once the kids figure that out, I think we’re going to be OK.”
“I told them today, I said, ‘Guys, we’re kind of like the sleeping giant of World War II.’ Really, we are. I said, ‘You guys, you don’t really know how good you could be.’ And until they realize that — I told them that’s what they’ve got to break through right now. We’ve just got to figure out that we could be a good football team if that’s what we want to be.”
Portales is coming off a 28-13 homecoming loss to Raton in which the Rams blew a 13-0 second-quarter lead, while the Rockets beat Ruidoso 39-7.
Correll and McAfee agree that the Ram defense can’t let Goddard senior running back Ruben Coronado control the game.
“We’re going to try to make him run horizontal,” McAfee said. “We’re going to try to take away his vertical. We want him to run east and west as opposed to north and south.”
“We’ve worked hard on really stringing things out to kind of negate their speed and their size,” Correll said. “They’re going to pick on something and make you stop it. We’re going to have to play extremely well sideline-to-sideline, if we get upfield then we’re going to be in trouble.”
In addition to a dangerous back, McAfee also said the Rockets offensive line is just as large as they were last year when they dominated the line of scrimmage.
“They’re built a lot the same as they were last year,” McAfee said. “I think we’re quicker up front like we were last year, so I’m hoping that helps us a little bit.”
“I think the scheme we’ve got ready for Goddard is good, and the kids believe in it,” Correll said.
“They don’t know how good they can be,” McAfee said. “I really believe that with all my heart.”