By Mickey Winfield, PNT Staff Writer
The future of the Portales High School football program is on display this week in the annual Ram football camp at the Ram practice field.
Following a season in which the Rams played in the state championship game, second-year head coach Andy Correll has two goals for this camp.
“Basically we’re just using it as a tool to number one, let the kids know who we are here at the high school, and number two, kind of get them a foundation before school starts,” Correll said.
Thirteen-year-old Justin Santibanez is an offensive lineman.
“I’m just out here to have fun. (I’m here to) learn more about football, and block better,” Santibanez said. “I think he’s a good coach. He took them to state.”
Twelve-year-old Stephen Duarte is going into seventh grade, and he’s a running back.
“I’m excited and I just want to learn how to run the ball better — have more control,” Duarte said.
Wyatt Legler, 13, wants to be a center, and has a couple of specific skills he wants to learn in this camp.
“I just want to learn a lot,” Legler said. “I want to learn how to block better and snap the ball better.”
“I really want them to know who their head coach is,” Correll said. “Without me making the effort to go meet them, it’s hard for me to get to watch them play, because seventh grade usually plays on Tuesday nights and we don’t make any of those because we have practice and very few Thursday nights we’re able to catch a game, so (we’re) really excited about the opportunity to get to meet some of the kids and let them meet us as well.”
With big changes in store for the Ram offense this season, Correll expects the three-day camp to benefit the coaching staff, as well as the kids who participate.
“We’ve changed some of our terminology in how we call things, so it’s really going to help our coaches as well, kind of hear what we’re doing and kind of get a foundation started,” Correll said. “Our whole passing scheme has changed from last year, so we’re really going to use it to kind of incorporate that.”
The camp resumes today at 4 p.m. for seventh and eighth graders and 6 p.m. for high school players, and continues Friday. The fee is $20 and campers can register at the Ram field house.
“If things go well, I’d like to do a little competition type thing on Friday and let the offense play against the defense and kind of use our scheme,” Correll said. “We’ve got good turnout, I’m pleased, very pleased.”