By Mickey Winfield: PNT Staff Writer
Portales Ram head coach Andy Correll wants the Rams to “stop stopping themselves.”
They’ll have that opportunity tonight, as the Rams (1-3) host the Tucumcari Rattlers (1-4) for Portales’ homecoming game, 7 p.m. at Greyhound Stadium.
The Rams’ defensive focus will be centered on Tucumcari senior running back Brian Lopez. Lopez stands at 6-foot-3, 225 pounds.
“He’s a big bruiser type, he likes to run hard,” Correll said. “He’s probably one of the bigger backs that we’ve seen, I don’t know that he’s as fast as what we’ve seen, but he’s a big kid, we’re going to have to control him.”
Lopez scored three touchdowns in Tucumcari’s 39-0 win against Loving last week.
The Rams have their own bruiser type in senior running back Eric Segovia, who rushed 27 times for 107 yards against Goddard, including one touchdown.
“He wants the ball,” Correll said about his halfback. “He’s running hard, and he knows in the type of offense that we run, he’s our premier back, but knowing that, teams are going to have to make sure they cover our other guys as well, like Cruz Ontiveros, we’re going to really have to start spreading it our a little.”
Correll said he was pleased by the Rams performance last week against Goddard, calling it a “moral victory” for the Rams. Portales shut out the Rocket offense in the second half, and holding them to just three first downs after halftime, but he also knows that his Rams missed some opportunities.
“We want to try to stop stopping ourselves,” Correll said. “I don’t know that Goddard really ever stopped us the other night — we kind of stopped ourselves. We want to get to where we’re not doing that kind of stuff for district.”
Tucumcari head coach Dub Smith was also impressed by the Rams’ performance against Goddard.
“Portales is going to be a good test for us,” Smith said. “They played well last week. They had two touchdowns that were called back and they very well could have won that game. They have improved a lot since the start of the season.”
Correll knows the importance of Friday’s contest.
“We’re fixing to go into our open week, and we definitely want to finish on a high note,” Correll said. “We don’t want to spend two weeks before our next game giving something away, we want to make sure we’re focused on Tucumcari, that we take care of our business, that we play hard, and I think we’ll be OK.”
“I think the kids are ready,” Correll said.
Freedom Newspapers staff writer Thomas Garcia contributed to this report.