By Dave Wagner
CMI sports writer
It’s been a rough couple of weeks for the Portales High football team which, after sailing along to a 5-1 start, has dropped back-to-back outings.
Tonight would be a good time for the Rams to get back on track as they open District 4-3A action at Ruidoso (5-2).
The winner will certainly have a leg up on the title in the three-team district, although struggling Lovington (1-6) can never be discounted.
“We’re just taking it one game at a time,” Rams coach Jaime Ramirez said. “Our goal this week is to be 1-0 in the district.”
Both of Ruidoso’s losses have been to Class 4A Centennial, including a 21-20 decision in Las Cruces last week that was decided by a blocked extra point. Still, it was significant improvement for the Warriors from their season-opening 35-12 loss to the Hawks at home.
“It should be a pretty good game,” Warriors coach Keif Johnson said of tonight’s contest. “It probably comes down to who can control the line of scrimmage.”
Johnson isn’t expecting a repeat of last year’s 47-0 Warriors blowout at Blackwater Draw.
“Coach Ramirez is doing a good job,” Johnson said. “That’s a much-improved team over last year.
“I know Portales probably wants to get some redemption on us.”
Johnson said the Warriors hope to contain the passing of Rams senior quarterback Daniel Sanchez and the shifty running of sophomore running back Bronte Staugaard. Meantime, Ruidoso relies heaving on the passing combination of junior quarterback Cade Patterson and the coach’s son, junior wide receiver Parker Johnson.
“Parker Johnson is definitely their key on offense,” Ramirez said. “We’ve definitely got to play good football and limit his touches.”
Portales has not had a game this season in which it has committed fewer than three turnovers, Ramirez pointed out.
“Once we put together a game with no turnovers, I think the sky’s the limit for this team,” he said.
The Rams host Lovington next week in their final regular-season game, while the Warriors have a bye next week before traveling to Lovington on Nov. 8.
- What: Portales (5-3) at Ruidoso (5-2)
- When: 7 p.m. todayLast week: The Warriors lost at Class 4A No. 6 Centennial 21-20. The Rams dropped a 38-21 decision at Blackwater Draw to Class 4A No. 8 Roswell High.
Last year: The Warriors cruised to a 47-0 victory at Blackwater Draw.