By Mickey Winfield: PNT Staff Writer
Hundreds of Ram fans huddled together outside of the Roosevelt County Courthouse on a frigid Thursday night, bundled in their warmest red clothes while cheering on their hometown Rams at a community pep rally.
Lance Hill, a lieutenant with the Portales Fire Department, was among the Rams’ supporters.
“I’m real proud of them,” Hill said. “They’ve done a real good job, and hopefully they’ll continue with it and bring (a championship) home on Saturday. The one thing I’ve noticed about the Rams this year, is they’ve really come together as a team, and you can tell that the heart is there as a team instead of a bunch of individual players.”
Portales plays Las Vegas Robertson for the Class 3A state championship at 2 p.m. Saturday at Greyhound Stadium.
Junior Ram defensive lineman Jacob Brady said the rally was proof the community is supporting the team.
“It really means a lot,” Brady said. “It shows that a lot of people really care, and they’re excited to see where we’re at. They push us when we’re down, and it keeps us motivated to try harder.”
Portales’ streets are lined with motivational signs.
“I really feel like the kids need to see these signs,” said Marla Segovia, whose son Eric is a senior running back for the Rams. “The kids need to feel that support, because (through their success) they are painting the town red.”
Portales is accustomed to witnessing success in volleyball and basketball, but the football teams have not attracted statewide attention in a while.
The Rams haven’t hosted a state football championship game since 2002 (a loss to Ruidoso) and they haven’t won a state championship since 1988 (over Ruidoso).
“I’m excited for the Rams on several fronts,” said Scott Davis, owner of a city furniture store. “Number one — first year for this coach to have this kind of success is just incredibly awesome. I’m also excited for the seniors. There’s a lot of seniors on that team, and to have this much success in their final year is just incredible.”
Segovia and others said the team is full of hard workers with good character.
“This is the greatest group of kids that have come out of the Portales school district in years,” Segovia said. “I think our town should be really proud of the fact that we are in (the state championship game).
“Win, lose or draw,” Davis said, “we got nothing but to hold our head up high.”