At 5-feet, 9-inches tall, Garth Dotson might not be the tallest lineman around.
But the Portales senior’s awareness and experience is exactly what Rams coach Andy Correll was looking for when it came time to rebuild the offensive and defensive lines this season.
In Portales’ season-opening 42-41 victory over Robertson last Friday, it was Dotson who got his hand high enough to deflect a two-point conversion pass attempt by the Cardinals with a minute left to preserve the victory.
“The quarterback (Daniel Martinez) was throwing it over the line, right over our heads, the whole game,” Dotson recalled. “On the two-point conversion, I just read his eyes. When he threw it, I just jumped up and got a hand on it.”
During Portales’ 2008 state championship campaign, Dotson saw spot action at linebacker. This season, he’s starting both ways — offensively as a right tackle and a defensive end on the other side of the ball.
“With us losing so many seniors, any experience we got these guys last year is going to be beneficial to us,” Correll said. “Garth was basically a running back-linebacker type of guy last year. He’s made the transition and we’re really pleased with him.
“Just the maturity level I can see with him, it’s been a good transition,” he added.
Spending most of his childhood in Portales, Dotson has twice lived in the town of Tahoka, Texas with his father for short periods of time.
Dotson, a cousin of Portales quarterback Michael Trujillo last year, said Tahoka High plays at the 1A level there. And while Portales may not be quite at the level of football madness as Texas, Dotson said it’s close.
“After winning state, I’d say they are,” Dotson said.
Back in Portales, Dotson’s mom is Denise Trujillo — the owner of the Sands Barber Shop in town.
“Yeah, she loves it and it’s worked out well,” said Dotson, adding his mom does not consider herself a hairdresser. “She calls herself a barber. She doesn’t like messing with women’s hair.”
In the early 1990s, Joel Garth Dotson was born when country music singer Garth Brooks was at the height of his popularity. Indeed, that’s how Dotson got his middle name — which inevitably became the name by which he is known.
“I loved Garth Brooks and that’s when he was really popular,” Denise Trujillo said. “Sometimes we’ll have family get-togethers and we have a karaoke machine and he’ll get up and try to sing when a Garth Brooks song come on.”
Obviously, if Garth Dotson is embarassed by the roots of his name, he doesn’t show it much. And he has the other usual sources of embarassment for a teenager: His parents.
“Actually, I still call him pooh-bear, because he’s still my baby,” Trujillo said.