Portales senior Willie Porter has plenty of energy when it comes to playing a football game, with starting duties on both sides of the ball as ample evidence. Standing out with his responsibilities as the team’s left tackle on the offensive line, Porter doubles as an outside linebacker on defense.
Often, he’s also pulling duty on special teams, which means that Porter, basically, almost never leaves the field.
It’s a major step forward from just over a year ago when Porter and his family were scared by extraordinarily high blood pressure readings into having the teenager’s heart checked out.
Ironically, it was energy that was the primary problem, according to Porter and Rams football coach Andy Correll. More specifically, the problem was energy drinks as Porter was consuming between four and five each day during the summer before his junior season.
“He wasn’t feeling good. They had done a physical, actually before the season started, and the doctor noted his blood pressure was extremely high,” Correll said. “They did some tests on him and they came back pretty rough. Come to find out he’d been drinking five energy drinks a day — pure sugar, and it was just eating him up.”
“I had to go to Lubbock and see a heart specialist,” Porter said. “At one point, (his blood pressure) was something like 180 over 70. It was pretty high.”
Porter missed three games early in the 2008 season due to concerns about his heart, which the senior now says is OK. He admits now that he wasn’t getting enough sleep and was trying to cope with fatigue during a summer job by consuming the energy drinks.
Now, though, Porter said he hasn’t had so much as a soda since the summer of ‘08.
“That’s really hard for kids my age,” he said. “And now I get my eight hours of sleep every night.”
Correll, whose team will travel to Goddard on Friday for its next game, said that Porter’s name does come up when he preaches about what and what not to consume as far as beverages are concerned.
“I say his name quite a bit on that deal and the kids know about it,” Correll said. “I really don’t push any kind of energy drink. I tell them that Gatorade is the worst thing (they’re allowed to) have and water is the best. We don’t want any sodas; if you want to drink Gatorade, that needs to be it.”
Porter’s name comes up for other reasons too. Correll uses him as an example to follow for his younger players.
“He’s one of our leaders. He doesn’t come off the field — offense, defense, special teams — he’s out there quite a bit,” Correll said. “He’s the one we have to run out of the weight room. He’s that kind of kid.”