By Joshua Lucero
Two things come to mind when Michael Doerr thinks about high school football in Roosevelt County: pride and unity.
“People align themselves with the team and feel like they are a part of it. It creates a sense of unity,” Doerr said.
Portales Rams fans will have to travel if they want to see their hometown heroes in action early this season — to Las Vegas Robertson tonight and Lovington on Sept. 5. But the Sept. 12 home opener against Texico is the first of three consecutive home games sure to see the town turn out in red.
Doerr, who’s done some radio sports broadcasting, believes the pride the community feels can be attributed to the former Portales graduates who attend football games to see the newest incarnation of the team they supported during their teens.
“The drama is so high, I feel like I’m 16 again,” Doerr said of watching and announcing high school football.
Doerr said the high school games are a time for the entire community to come together to support a common goal.
Members of different groups, clubs, and backgrounds join together to support their team in its gladiator-like battle for victory against opponents from neighboring communities.
“There’s an old-school feeling that Portales can take on anyone in the state,” Doerr said.
Team pride isn’t just for the adults who watch the games.
Portales Recreation Center director Jodi Kibbe said her elementary age children like to go to the games to join in on the fun and watch the high schoolers they look up to as they play the game.
“They like to support the Rams by wearing the red and black school colors and showing their school spirit,” Kibbe said of her children.
Kibbe said the games bring the community together and give a sense of family that is great for the youth who aren’t old enough to participate. The children that watch hope to be like the players, cheerleaders, and band members they see on the field.
“Everybody loves football. It’s a good time and it’s enjoyable to watch. You get to go out and see kids you know on the team and support them,” Kibbe said.
As for the rest of the fans, Portales Rams football head coach Jaime Ramirez believes they are people who just love the game of football.
“Football fans love to see competitive football,” he said. “All of the towns (around Portales) take football seriously. They take pride in having good football teams.”
Ramirez said he thinks people take pride in their local high school football teams because they see the discipline football can bring to those who participate.
“We take football seriously,” Ramirez said, “It teaches kids responsibility, life lessons, and molds their character.”