By Dave Wagner
The Portales High football team was glad to see some new faces on Friday as it tunes up for next week’s season opener.
The Rams, who hosted a four-way scrimmage with Capital, Eunice and the Clovis junior varsity at their practice facility, open the regular season on Friday night at Blackwater Draw against Las Vegas Robertson, a team they’ve played four times in the past two years.
“We’re tired of playing against ourselves,” second-year coach Jaime Ramirez said. “It was good to play against somebody else.”
Teams had the ball for 15 plays against each of the other three squads during the scrimmage, which was cut a bit short by some lightning in the area.
Ramirez said the Rams did well against Capital and Clovis, but struggled a bit against Eunice. Still, he said the defense had a solid night overall.
“I thought we played pretty sharp on both sides of the ball,” he said. “Whenever you have a defense that does the things they do, offensively it’s fun to go out there.
“I thought the three teams that came over here played well. I wish them all luck and hope they have a great season.”
Senior center-nose guard Hayden Montiel said it was a good learning experience.
“All we care about is having a good attitude and positive execution,” Montiel said. “I can tell all the players are pumped up.”
Noting they’ve lost twice to Robertson in each of the last two seasons, including both years in the playoffs, senior slot receiver-safety Cruz Belden said the Rams have something to prove.
“We’re ready to beat them,” he said. “They gave it to us the past two years.”
Portales played the Cardinals close in a season-opening 13-7 loss and led 14-0 at the quarter before losing 40-26 in the playoffs, both at Las Vegas.
“We almost had them,” Montiel said. “Hopefully, this year is all about redemption.”
The seniors are motivated to do well after the Rams went 2-8 in 2012.
“We want to turn this program around,” Belden said. “That’s what we’re looking to do and what we’re expected to do.”