Portales and Ruidoso expect to make the Class 3A playoffs, which start next week.
In today’s 7 p.m. District 4-3A and regular-season finale at Greyhound Stadium, though, both are looking to improve their positions.
“Us, Lovington and Portales are all in there,” Ruidoso coach Keif Johnson said of the top teams in the district. “It’s going to be a dogfight. Portales is a good team.”
The Rams (6-3), ranked No. 3 in Class 3A, and Warriors (5-4), ranked No. 7, are each 1-1 in the district with close losses to Lovington.
Last week, Portales bounced back from a 17-14 setback to the Wildcats with a 60-20 rout of Albuquerque Academy, getting 243 total yards and four touchdowns — two rushing, two receiving — from junior running back Jesus Davalos and four scoring passes from senior quarterback Michael Trujillo.
“We were able to go out there and have fun,” Trujillo said. “Against Lovington, we were just thinking way too much.
“We can’t take this game for granted. Ruidoso is one of those teams that can give you a game.”
The Warriors lost last Friday to Lovington 22-21 in overtime, unsuccessfully going for a 2-point conversion and the win in the OT rather than playing for a tie.
Johnson, a 1991 Ruidoso grad, said his sights are set on a five-through-eight seed and a first-round home game next week.
“We’re all playing for that second part of the season,” he said.
Portales, meanwhile, can probably nail down a first-round bye in the 12-team bracket by winning tonight.
“We want that top-four seed to get the bye to get everybody healed up,” Trujillo said. “And, it’s a lot better to be 7-3 than 6-4.”
Rams coach Andy Correll was pleased with how his squad bounced back from its disappointing 17-14 loss at Lovington two weeks ago.
“There’s always a ‘rebounding’ question after a loss,” he said. “I thought we executed pretty well (against Academy) and took care of the football.”
Last year at Ruidoso, the Rams built a three-touchdown lead at halftime and cruised to a 27-13 win over the Warriors.
“We jumped on them early last year,” Correll said. “We need to do the same thing (tonight).”