By Mickey Winfield, PNT Staff Writer
The Portales Rams expected to be tested Saturday night against Wichita Falls-Hirschi at Lubbock’s Lowrey Field. If Saturday’s game was a test, the Rams want a re-do after a 31-6 loss.
The Rams (0-2) fell into a 21-0 halftime hole, and never found their way out of it.
“We didn’t step on the field, first of all, with the right frame of mind,” second-year Ram head coach Andy Correll said. “We were intimidated to start with. That can’t happen ever again, and we vow not to.”
The Rams fell behind early, trailing 7-0 after the first quarter. The Huskies added to the lead in the second quarter, taking a 21-0 lead into the half including a punt return for a touchdown.
“Those are inexcusable,” Correll said. “You just can’t do that.”
Hirschi added a field goal to the tally in the third quarter, followed by a touchdown in the final period.
The Ram defense recovered a fumble deep in Hirschi territory late in the game, and junior running back Ricky Lovato put the Rams on the board with a 14-yard scamper.
“We threw the ball decent at times,” Correll said. “But we did not execute worth a flip, so (we’re) not real pleased with our offensive output.”
Correll and McAfee were both impressed with Hirschi’s athleticism.
“They’re just so athletic,” Correll said. “The style of football that we would have had to play is really not what we do. They’re just that athletic. They can lineup unsound and they have the speed to recover.”
Adding injury to insult, two Ram defenders left the game with injuries. Junior linebacker Cody Creek suffered what coaches believe to be a knee injury, while junior defensive tackle Ethan Grubbs injured his shoulder. Offensive lineman Travis Field also reported chest pain after the game.
“They just kind of beat us up,” Ram assistant coach and defensive coordinator Mark McAfee said.
Correll described the Ram defense as the bright spot Saturday night.
“We made some stops, forced some turnovers,” Correll said. “(We) did some good things there.”
“We were ready for every running play they had, and we were ready for every passing play,” McAfee said. “We could just never simulate their athleticism that we saw tonight.”
Portales hosts Slaton, Texas in a 7 p.m. Friday tilt at Greyhound Stadium. Correll figures the Rams match up better with Slaton, but admitted they’ll probably match up better with anybody else on their schedule than Hirschi.
“We don’t have anybody that we’re going to play from this point on that’s as athletic as what we just saw, as far as speed or athletic ability,” Correll said. “I really think we’ll match up better with people that we’re going to see down the road.”