Rams players making switch to new positions

Switching-playersBy Dave Wagner
Sports writer
dwagner@cnjonline.com
In his Portales High career, Matt Martinez has shown himself to be a versatile athlete for the Rams.

Now coming into his senior season in football, Martinez is hoping to make a successful transition to quarterback for third-year coach Jaime Ramirez.

Facing mostly larger schools in Friday’s 7-on-7 competition at Eastern New Mexico University, Martinez got a bit of a glimpse into what lies ahead.

“I learn a lot from the 7-on-7s,” he said. “(Quarterback) is pretty new for me. I think I’m adapting all right, but I still have a lot of work to do.”

While the Rams managed only two wins in the shirts-and-shorts competition, Ramirez said he sees progress.

Staff photo: Joshua Lucero PHS senior Matt Martinez fires a long pass downfield during Friday’s 7-on-7 matchup against Lubbock Coronado. Martinez is expected to take over Rams QB duties this season.

Staff photo: Joshua Lucero
PHS senior Matt Martinez fires a long pass downfield during Friday’s 7-on-7 matchup against Lubbock Coronado. Martinez is expected to take over Rams QB duties this season.

“We played competitive with everybody,” he said. “A few dropped passes and a few bad reads, and we got behind. But all it does it help prepare us (for the season).”

On defense, Martinez plays safety or cornerback on defense. Last year, he saw time on offense as a backup running back.

He said he hadn’t seen himself coming into the QB position.

“It just happened,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting to play quarterback when I was a kid. I just hope to make the most of the opportunity.”

Another player transitioning this season is senior slotback-outside linebacker Paul Conrow, who played safety on last year’s Rams defense.

Conrow said he has been in contention at QB as well, a position he actually played during his sophomore campaign. He said a hit on his shoulder during a 7-on-7 last week at New Mexico Military in Roswell has hampered his ability to throw the ball.

Joshua Lucero: staff photo PHS senior running back Bronte Staugaard runs away from a Lubbock Coronado defending during a bracket game in Friday’s 7-on-7 competition at the ENMU practice field. Portales defeated the Mustangs, but was eliminated in the next round.

Joshua Lucero: staff photo
PHS senior running back Bronte Staugaard runs away from a Lubbock Coronado defending during a bracket game in Friday’s 7-on-7 competition at the ENMU practice field. Portales defeated the Mustangs, but was eliminated in the next round.

His transition to linebacker, though, is coming along well.

“I’ve been a quarterback, so I kind of know every position on offense,” Conrow said. “I’ve always been able to go from (position to position). I usually pick things up real quick.”

Ramirez said the team didn’t mind the fact it was probably the smallest school in the large-school division of Friday’s 7-on-7.

“We didn’t look at it like that,” he said. “We looked at it as an opportunity to compete against some good teams and try to get better.”

The Rams begin practice on Aug. 4 with a week of two-a-days. They host a four-way scrimmage at their practice facility on Aug. 22 before starting the season the following week at Las Vegas Robertson.