Portales team headed for national youth football tournament

Alisa Boswell

A team of Portales fifth- and sixth-graders are gearing up to compete in the Nationals Youth Football Championships.

“We heard of it through Sammy Herrera, a league director in Texas,” Portales City League coach Kory Webb said. “He got with me and let me know what was going on. I signed my team up and paid the entry fees, then I just started trying to find kids who were interested in going.”

The team will consist of 19 players.

“We’ve had a few kids go to the nationals tournament but never a full team representing Portales,” Webb said. “This will be the first year that I know of that a full team from Roosevelt County has gone to something of this magnitude.”

The event will be held Nov. 18-20 in Lubbock.

“We are striving to build solid athletes and solid community-oriented youth,” Webb said. “Our goal is to be able to make better athletes and students by building on teamwork and respect.”

Webb said he is also hoping to start a non-profit organization called Roosevelt County All Sports Association, which will “help ensure that all youth that want to play sports in Roosevelt County have the opportunity to become a part of organized sports.”

“Our goal is to build up our youth by teaching them the fundamentals of sports, which will in turn produce better athletes,” Webb said. “It is also our belief that by creating a structured activity, it will build self-respect as well as respect for others.”

Webb said he anticipates the organization being fully under way in the new year.

He said local coaches and players have already held a fundraising event to help pay expenses for their Lubbock trip.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for our kids to get out there and it’s good motivation for them to keep trying,” said Norma Gallegos, mother of Paul Gallegos, who plays for the Portales team. “Our coaches have been great at motivating the kids to work their hardest and do their best. It’s amazing that they get to go represent Portales. And these kids our going to be future (high school) Rams.”

Clovis fifth- and sixth-grade team, Clovis Beastmode, and third- and fourth-grade team, Clovis Wildcats, will also be attending the tournament, along with fifth- and sixth-grade Farwell teams.