Whether The Portales volleyball team makes the state tournament or gets eliminated on Saturday is still up in the air. But everybody will know three hours earlier now.
The New Mexico Activities Association, the governing body of state high school athletics, wanted Portales’ regional championship match against Grants to start at 4 p.m. instead of 7 p.m., which PHS originally desired.
Portales athletic director Don Gomez said the NMAA gave “no reason” for the time change, but noted that PHS is not the only team subject to an early match (i.e. Gomez said Lovington and Hot Springs will play at 3 p.m. Saturday.)
Gomez said tickets will be $5 per person, and no season passes will be accepted.
For the foreseeable future, Garrick Matthews is doing double duty with Portales High athletics. Monday night saw him pulling triple duty with babysitting.
Matthews, 32, spent part of Monday night at PHS, watching the Ram varsity basketball practice and his three sons. His wife, Carmen, had a meeting in Clovis that left Matthews with sole control over 6-year-old Sean, 3-year-old Ryan and 2-year-old Kolin.
That’s in addition to working with as the freshman volleyball and boys basketball coach.
The result is that Matthews, in his second year at Portales, does school days that start at 4 or 5 a.m. and last until about 6 p.m.
“I come in early because I don’t get a whole lot of work done at home … that’s family time,” said Matthews, who also teaches four classes at the high school.
His commitment to the volleyball program could have ended with the freshman volleyball season, but Matthews wants to see the Lady Rams and coach Ruth Chavez through their entire season.
“My big thing is to support what Ruth is doing and help her out when she needs help,” Matthews said. “For me, it’s a learning opportunity. It’s a good chance for me to improve on my knowledge of the game of volleyball.”
Matthews, who came to Portales following five years of coaching basketball at Maxwell High School, believes he’s learned more in one-and-a-half years as an assistant at PHS than in any of his time as a head coach at Maxwell.
Lovington’s 36-6 victory over the Ram football team, and the resulting point differentials, eliminated all hopes for Portales’ fourth-straight Class 3A playoff appearance. However, the Rams can still have an impact on who does represent District 4-3A when they take the field Friday against New Mexico Military Institute.
Ruidoso is the only team assured of a playoff spot on the strength of wins over Portales (31-14) and NMMI (42-28). Lovington and NMMI are each 1-1, with the Colts beating the Wildcats 43-41 two Fridays ago.
There are four possible playoff scenarios left in District 4-3A, and three give Lovington a playoff spot. The Wildcats could win the district title with a win over Ruidoso and a NMMI loss or an 8-point win over Ruidoso. The second scenario would allow the Wildcats to take the title in a three-way tie, decided by point differential.
The Wildcats could also enter the playoffs with a loss and a NMMI loss. This would put Portales, NMMI and Lovington into a three-way tie, which the Wildcats would win via point differential.
The Colts make the playoffs if they beat Portales and Ruidoso defeats Lovington. That would make Ruidoso the outright district champion. The Colts, at 2-1, would beat out the Wildcats for the district runnerup spot.