The Portales Rams are looking to build a little momentum as they travel to the Wool Bowl tonight to take on the Class 4A Roswell Coyotes at 7 p.m.
The Rams (1-5) are fresh off their first win of the season, a 44-6 romp against West Las Vegas, a win that coaches say might jumpstart the rest of the season.
Roswell, on the other hand, was having one of its best seasons in recent memory until they stubbed their toe and lost 21-14 in Moriarty last week.
Portales coach Mark McAfee said he thinks his team is on the same page now and looking forward as the Roswell game draws them one game away from starting district play.
“I’m just really proud of how we came back,” McAfee said. “I’m impressed with how hard they’re working. I think they realize if we keep improving good things can happen.”
As is typical of a matchup with the Coyotes (4-3), McAfee said he expects the game will turn with what happens up front.
“I think it’s going to come down to how well we play on our offensive and defensive lines,” McAfee said. “Offensively we’re starting to click.
Rams junior running back Colin McAfee had a career-high 145 yards rushing last week and the elder (Mark) McAfee said that success in the running game showed his team what was possible when everyone is in the grove on offense.
Even with an improved running game he knows a one-dimensional look against Roswell won’t be enough.
“We’re going to have to mix it up a little bit and try and keep them off balance,” he said.
Rams senior quarterback J.J. Collins didn’t have a huge night in terms of passing yardage last week but he made good choices at critical times and tossed two touchdown passes in the win.
Defensive coordinator Arturo Ontiveros agrees that the big battle will be inside with Roswell where senior running back Kevin Kelly will be the workhorse. But he knows from game film that junior quarterback James Singleton has the ability to escape for big gains when flushed from the pocket.
“The biggest thing we’ve got to do is contain their quarterback,” Ontiveros said. “We can’t let him get outside. He has the ability to turn something negative into a positive.”