By Kevin Wilson: PNT Staff Writer
Ruidoso coach Ridge Bowden thinks that both the Warriors and the Portales Rams have already earned their way into the Class 3A playoffs, and tonight’s game is a chance for each to improve their seeding.
“Our entire district should be looking (forward to the playoffs),” Bowden said. “Even Portales has a great opportunity. I don’t expect them to be in the top eight (because of a 2-7 record), but I’d expect them to move up to a good position if they pull out a win, as should we.”
As for Portales, coach Glenn Johnson has different aspirations.
“I don’t have much to say,” Johnson said. “We need to win a football game. I know there’s been talk about the playoffs and the selection committees. The most important thing is to line up, play four quarters of football and beat a football team.”
Portales travels to Ruidoso for a 7 p.m. game, the district finale for both teams. Ruidoso is 1-1 in the district with a 14-0 win over New Mexico Military Institute and a 21-14 loss at Lovington.
Portales, meanwhile, has a pair of losses — 48-16 against Lovington and 21-6 at NMMI last Friday.
“I think (NMMI) ran at them very effectively,” Bowden said. “They gave the ball to (David) Pickard 25, 30 times (33 carries for 221 yards) and he’s a pretty good athlete. He was able to carry the team basically.”
Despite the run working well against Portales, Bowden said it won’t change what the Warriors do tonight.
“If there’s something we saw that was successful, we might implement it,” Bowden said. “That’s not in our gameplan right now.
“If anything, we’ll be a lot more simplistic,” continued Bowden, whose Warrior team had seven turnovers in the loss to Lovington.
Whatever Ruidoso is planning, Johnson feels the key will be whoever executes best and controls the tempo of the game.
“We need to execute all three phases of the game for four quarters,” Johnson said. “Namely on the offensive side, we must execute and get first downs. Time of possession’s going to be big.”
Lovington hosts NMMI in Friday’s other District 4-3A game. Lovington can win the district with a victory, but a NMMI win could create a complicated tiebreaker scenario. A NMMI win, combined with a Ruidoso win, would create a three-way tiebreaker that would likely give Ruidoso the district title.