Most of Mark McAfee’s time in Portales football has been spent as an assistant. Now he’s ready for his second turn in the hot seat.
McAfee was the Rams’ head coach for one season (1998). Other than that, except for one year in which he didn’t coach, he’s been an assistant on the Portales staff since coming to the school in 1991.
“I was under a variety of head coaches,” he said. “Hopefully, I can utilize the good qualities of those coaches and build on it.
“I guess my philosophy on football is that X’s and O’s are important, but the type of young men we graduate is more important. We’re looking at it in that perspective.”
Portales was 3-8 last season after storming to the Class 3A state championship in 2008. McAfee, also the school’s athletic director, said the Rams should have a chance to do well in the playoffs if they can hold their own in District 4-3A and qualify.
“If we can get better every week, in the district we’re in, that’s huge for us,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mike Prokop has stepped across the state line to take over the Farwell program after a successful 10-year run at Texico, which included three state championships and an 81-25 record.
He admits there’s an adjustment period.
“You’ve got to get to know the kids,” he said. “It’s kind of like starting over.
“It’s a matter of getting everything up to speed.”
One of the adjustments has been different rules in Texas versus New Mexico. Prokop said there is more paperwork to file with the University Interscholastic League, and noted that Texas players must play either play varsity or junior varsity in a given week — not both, as they can in New Mexico.
“But it’s all good,” he said. “I hope everything goes good, and it will. It just takes time.
“I had a great 10 years at Texico. Hopefully, I can have a great 10 years at Farwell.”
The only head coaching experience for Dora’s Leonard Velasquez in a long career came in a three-year run at tiny Vaughn, also a 6-man program.
Much of his career has been spent as an assistant coach at Santa Rosa.
Velasquez said that when he went to 8-man at Tatum for a brief time, he used the single-wing offense, which had been well-established at Santa Rosa. “Obviously, you can’t do that in 6-man (due to lack of numbers),” he said.
Dora has long been a hotbed for small-school basketball in New Mexico, but the Coyotes are only in their third year on the gridiron. It’s a work in progress, but Velasquez would like to see them make a run at a playoff berth.
“We’re trying to get a total program for Dora,” Velasquez said. “It’s just a matter of convincing (players) to come out. The biggest thing has been that they’re afraid to get hurt (before) basketball.”