Portales High’s offense certainly rolled into gear last weekend, scoring almost as many points (79) in one game as it had in five losses (81) leading up to the contest against Roswell High.
The Rams (2-5) hope to keep up the pressure when they open their District 4-3A schedule with a 7 p.m. clash today at Ruidoso (3-4).
Warriors coach Kief Johnson thinks the teams are in a similar position.
“I know their record doesn’t show how good they are,” Johnson said. “It’s kind of like our record. They’ve played some tough teams and we’ve lost some games that we really shouldn’t have lost.
“It should be a good battle Friday night. They’re going to air it out; we’re going to air it out.”
Both teams put their offenses in motion with a spread formation. Portales coach Andy Correll, though, thinks that one of the Warriors’ strengths is their ground game.
“They’re an athletic, pretty quick team,” he said. “Their quarterbacks, they kind of switch between (Daryl) Carr and (Brendan) Flack, (and) both are a threat to run. Defensively, we’re going to have to be real solid up front and make sure we’re playing disciplined football. They like to spread you out, shotgun, and still run it.
“Talking to coaches and everything, I really feel we need to force them into passing situations.”
Likewise, Johnson is worried about the Portales running attack. That amounts, basically, to one person in Jesus Davalos. But in the 79-36 victory over Roswell High, the Rams’ senior raced to 200 yards rushing while grabbing 181 yards receiving — in the first half alone.
“Keep him contained, that’s for sure,” said Johnson of the strategy for dealing with Davalos. “Don’t let him in the open field. Even then, I’ve seen him squirt out of there.”
The district schedule isn’t a long one.
After the trip to Ruidoso, Portales will host Lovington next week. The following weekend, the Rams travel to Albuquerque to face Academy in the season finale.
Lovington is currently the top-ranked team in Class 3A, while Academy was unbeaten before stumbling against Bloomfield last week. With those teams ahead in the district itinerary, Portales is wary of starting district pleasantries with a loss.
“I think if we travel well, step off the bus ready to play, we’ll be in good shape,” Correll said.