By Mickey Winfield, PNT Staff writer
When the Portales Rams (3-4, 1-0) take the field against Lovington (1-7, 1-0) tonight, a district record of 2-0 is on the line, along with an automatic berth into the Class 3A state football playoffs, but the Rams will take the field tonight without a big part of their ball-control offense.
Portales senior running back Eric Segovia suffered a dislocated shoulder one week ago, in the Rams district opening win against Ruidoso. According to the Portales coaching staff, Eric will be out for three weeks. That schedule would mean the Rams wouldn’t have their leading rusher until the first or second round of the Class 3A playoffs in early to mid November.
“He is (a big part of our offense) but even the other night we didn’t miss a lick, with Ricky Lovato in there,” Rams head coach Andy Correll said. “And then we’ve also got a couple different packages where we’re going to put Cruz Ontiveros back there in our ‘gun’ set as well, so really not looking to miss too much, I mean (Segovia) is a big part of the offense because we make him that part of it, but I really think we’ve got some guys who are ready to step up and pick up any slack.”
Segovia has easily been the biggest part of the Portales offense this year, in the Rams seven games this season, Segovia has accumulated nearly 500 yards rushing and scored five touchdowns.
This is the second consecutive season, that Segovia suffered a serious injury in the Rams district opener. Last year, Eric tore his ACL, ending his junior season, in Portales’ district opening game against Lovington.
While Portales defeated Ruidoso last Friday night, the Wildcats opened up their district schedule, snapping a season opening seven game losing skid, beating the New Mexico Military Institute.
“We’ve had a lot of growing pains with a young team, a lot of youth and inexperience at positions,” First-year Lovington coach Jaime Quinones said.
Both coaches understand the importance of tonight’s game.
“I really think the kids are focused on this game, above and beyond any that we’ve been focused on all year, they’re ready to play,” Correll said.
“With one game to go, the winner is going to be in pretty good shape, it definitely puts you in the driver’s seat,” Quinones said.
Lovington’s coach says he has plenty of respect for the Rams offense, even without Segovia.
“That quarterback (Mosier) is a great athlete, they have another good tailback, Ontiveros so they have some weapons. This time of year, you don’t change a whole lot. You go with what brought you here, and you’re going to put a few wrinkles in, but I expect they’re going to run the football, they do a good job at it. “