By Dave Wagner: Freedom Newspapers
CLOVIS — Andy Correll may be from Knox City, Texas, but he feels quite comfortable in Portales.
A former assistant at Portales High, Correll is preparing for his first season as Rams head coach. He was chosen in May to replace Glenn Johnson, who stepped down after seven seasons at the helm.
“This is like coming back home,” said Correll, who earned an undergraduate degree in 1996 and a graduate degree in 2003 from Eastern New Mexico University. “I am from Texas, but I lived here for 10 years. This was a pretty good opportunity for me.”
With two-a-days starting for most high school teams on Monday, Correll is among three new area head football coaches this fall. The others are Mark Anglin at Farwell and Hector Guevara at Bovina.
Correll, Johnson’s offensive coordinator from 1999-2001, hopes to help the Rams bounce back after going 5-16 over the past two seasons.
“Our whole thing is making sure we’re doing the right things, changing some attitudes around here,” said Correll, who has spent the last three years as an assistant principal in Texas. “Our biggest selling point is we want to work hard.
“I think if the kids put in the effort, sometimes you can overcome (what you lack in) talent.”
Farwell and Bovina compete in the same district. Last year, the Mustangs edged Farwell 6-3 en route to ending about a 10-year playoff drought.
Guevara is a Bovina graduate and had spent eight seasons as a Mustangs assistant, the last three as defensive coordinator.
“We’re hoping we started a turnaround last year,” Guevara said. “As long as we stay healthy, I think we should be OK.”
He acknowledges there is more responsibility as a head coach.
“It’s a different feeling, for sure,” Guevara said. “Stepping on the field for the first time, I hope it’s not too overwhelming, but I just can’t wait.”
Anglin, meantime, is trying to get Farwell back to the playoffs following back-to-back 4-6 campaigns.
“I think the kids here have a good work ethic,” he said. “The key to us getting to the playoffs will be if we can coach everyone to reach their potential.”
Even though the Steers return only a handful of starters on both sides of the ball, Anglin said he could see that working to their advantage.
“It doesn’t hurt us as much as it might because we’re putting in a new offense and a new defense,” he said.
Area prep football capsules
Coach: Andy Correll (1st year)
2005 record: 2-9 (0-3 District 4-3A)
Of note: The Rams opened 3-0 in 2004 and finished 3-6; they were 2-0 last year before losing their final nine games, including a first-round 3A playoff loss at Raton.
Quotable: “We’re pretty excited. We had a pretty good turnout over the summer, and the guys have worked pretty hard.” — Correll.
8-man District 4
Coach: Rafael Roybal (2nd year)
2005 record: 4-5 (2-2 six-man District 3)
Of note: Floyd reached the six-man state finals two years ago, losing to Melrose 74-60.
Quotable: “We know what offense and defense we’re going to run, but right now our biggest problem is finding enough kids to play.” — Roybal, concerned about numbers, especially with the jump to eight-man.