By Mickey Winfield, PNT Staff Writer
After a slow start, the Portales Rams operated as a well-oiled machine last Friday night to earn their first win of the season in comeback fashion at Tucumcari — now they have nine days to recuperate, recover and fine-tune the machine before hosting Roswell High at Greyhound Stadium Oct. 19.
Ram head coach Andy Correll believes his boys may have turned the corner on their season after achieving that first win.
“We’ve definitely gotten better,” Ram head coach Andy Correll said. “We played three quarters of pretty good football.”
Portales defensive coordinator and assistant coach Mark McAfee said the Rams (1-5) did two big things right Friday night that he believes will carry the team through their bye week. They battled back from a 14-0 deficit on the road, and they set the tempo in the second half.
“After (Tucumcari) scored that second (touchdown), we played really well defensively,” McAfee said.
With the district schedule about two weeks away, are the Rams ready to take on perennial power Lovington?
“Not yet,” McAfee said. “But the good news is we’ve got the Roswell game and I think that’s going to be huge because they’re going to be a more finesse type of offense. And I think that will help us get ready for district. So I’m hoping with them and (New Mexico Military) Institute, by the time we get those two under our belt, we’ll be better prepared to face Lovington.”
Over the course of the next nine days, Correll revealed his team’s bye-week to-do-list in preparation of Roswell High and the district schedule.
“Defensively, we’ve stayed very fundamental,” Correll said. “We’re working hard on our reading schemes and making sure we’re doing the little things correctly.”
Correll also plans on adding some new wrinkles on offense before the district schedule starts.
“I’m kind of putting together a new look to kind of get some stuff a little bit different for district, just a different look that will add to what we already do that teams are going to have to prepare for.”
Following the Rams home game against Roswell High on Oct. 19, Portales sets out to defend its 2006 District 4-3A championship at NMMI, before traveling to Ruidoso and ending its regular season at Lovington.
“We knew it would be a slow process,” Correll said. “It’s taken time and we’ve been patient and we’ve just got to continue to be patient and I think by district we’ll be ready to roll.”