By Mickey Winfield, PNT Staff Writer
Dinner may have been chicken fried steak and mashed potatoes, but the main course Monday night at the Portales High School cafeteria was Ram pride.
Portales Ram football players, parents and supporters attended the 2006 football awards banquet adding the exclamation point to a Ram season in which first-year head coach Andy Correll returned to Portales, and returned the Rams to the Class 3A state championship game.
“This is a big night for us as a family,” Rick Segovia, father of Portales senior Eric Segovia, said. “Eric’s gone through some hard times (with injuries), I’ve been telling him all week, ‘thanks for the memories’”.
Players, coaches, parents, boosters and managers were all recognized while Correll, and Portales principal Melvin Nusser both received special gifts.
“I got an autographed helmet of all of ‘em, and two senior pictures. That’s pretty special,” Correll said. “We’re extremely proud of the strides they made and the standards they set, and we wanted to send them off in a gracious way, because they deserve it.
Nusser was given a football autographed by the team, and he knew exactly what to do with it.
“I’m going to go put this on e-bay,” Nusser joked. “(But seriously), the strength of any organization comes from the group and not just one individual, and Coach Correll has been saying that since the beginning, and it really paid off in the end.”
Along with 18 Ram seniors, the Portales varsity, junior varsity, and freshmen were all recognized Monday night.
The Rams shocked many football observers in the state, by winning the District 4-3A championship, then beating two of the top three seeds in the state playoffs on the road before losing to Las Vegas Robertson in the state championship game at Greyhound Stadium, 28-6.
But Correll stressed that this group of kids were winners, with or without a successful season.
“Even if we didn’t make the playoffs,” Correll continued, “This group did some certain things that we needed to get established back here at Portales.”
Segovia also talked about bringing tradition back to Portales football.
“Now that we’ve had a couple of weeks to think about it, we’re really proud of what we accomplished and we’re really glad to have started a new tradition.”