Defense sets tone for Rams

By Dave Wagner

dwagner@cnjonline.com

Portales High football coach Jaime Ramirez had no complaints about his team’s defense in a five-team scrimmage on Friday at PHS — the Rams shut out West Las Vegas, the Clovis junior varsity and Eunice.

Offensively, though, it was a bit different.

“I thought defensively we played outstanding,” Ramirez said. “Offensively, we need to improve. Receivers didn’t stay with their blocks, and the offensive line didn’t stay with their blocks long enough.

Staff photo: Kevin Wilson Portales senior Matt Martinez tries to elude Clovis JV defender Taitt Kuchta during their scrimmage Friday night at Portales High School.

Staff photo: Kevin Wilson
Portales senior Matt Martinez tries to elude Clovis JV defender Taitt Kuchta during their scrimmage Friday night at Portales High School.

“If we improve on that, I think we’ll be better.”

Scrimmages consisted of 10 plays for each team, with each scheduled to play three of the other four.

At the end, the Rams were going to scrimmage Santa Rosa, but on the first play a Lions lineman sustained what may have been a broken leg, and that ended that.

Portales opens the regular season Friday at Las Vegas Robertson.

Ramirez said junior tackle-linebacker Jonathon Montiel looked good in the scrimmages, adding that quarterback candidates Matt Martinez and Paul Conrow were solid.

He said neither has laid claim to the job heading into the final week of preseason.

“For the most part, I thought Matt and Paul looked pretty solid,” Ramirez said. “They were making good reads. It’s just that some of their throws weren’t accurate.

“We just have to improve a lot on offense. I think it’s a situation where we’re going to get better and better each week.”

Junior running back Bronte Staugaard said the scrimmage went well from his perspective.

“I thought we did good,” he said. “It’s nice to get out and play somebody else.”

Staugaard rushed for 1,433 yards and scoring 13 touchdowns last season as Portales posted a 6-5 mark.

“Bronte looked good running the ball,” Ramirez said. “When we did stay with our blocks, we looked pretty good.”

Staugaard is hopeful last year’s success will have a carryover.

“I definitely have more confidence this year,” he said. “From playing last year and getting experience, I learned what I could do.”

He knows he won’t sneak up on anyone this year, though.

“That just comes with it, but I’m ready,” he said. “I know (opponents) will be looking for me.”