Don't put too much stock in Lovington's 2-5 record this season.
First-year Portales Rams coach Jaime Ramirez certainly isn't.
The teams collide at 7 p.m. today in Lovington in a District 4-3A clash, and Ramirez knows his squad will have its hands full.
"If we win, we control our own destiny," Ramirez said regarding the playoffs. "If we don't, we let someone else (namely, the NMAA seeding committee) control our destiny."
The Rams (2-6, 0-1 district) are coming off a deflating 47-0 loss at home to Ruidoso last Friday, and they're beat up heading into their regular-season finale.
Ramirez said sophomore defensive end-punter Dustin Sisneros (concussion symptoms) and outside linebacker Zac Green (dislocated shoulder) should be able to return to action, but several others are questionable, including sophomore quarterback Paul Conrow, who left last week's game in the second quarter with a rib injury.
"They're still tough defensively," Ramirez said of the Wildcats. "Offensively, they're not as strong as they've been, but their defense puts them in good positions."
Lovington has taken its lumps this year, yet is still ranked third in Class 3A. The Wildcats have lost to Class 4A powers Roswell Goddard (20-0) and Artesia (56-7) and Class 3A top-ranked St. Michael's (40-0).
Their only game closer than 20 points this season was a 16-14 loss to Lea County rival Hobbs, a Class 5A school.
"We've played a tough schedule, but we feel like the most important games are in district and that's why we schedule that way," Lovington coach Jaime Quinones said. "We know each week we better be ready to play.
"Some years we've had a better record, but the kids are improving each and every week. Our goal right now is to win two games and assure ourselves a berth in the playoffs."
Quinones has some sympathy for the Rams' plight.
"Coach Ramirez inherited a very young team, and I've heard they've had some injuries," he said. "But it's Lovington and Portales — it's a rivalry game, and we expect a battle."
- What: Portales (2-6, 0-1 District 4-3A) at Lovington (2-5, 0-0).
- When: 7 p.m. today
- Last week: The Rams lost to Ruidoso 47-0 at Greyhound Stadium. The Wildcats had an open date.
- Last year: Lovington defeated Portales 37-7 at Greyhound Stadium.