Rams look to get off to fast start
Published: Friday, November 16th, 2007
Portales coach Andy Correll believes his 10th-seeded Rams may be ready to make the kind of playoff run that led them to the Class 3A state championship game last season. The Rams get their chance to begin such a run at 1 p.m. today when they at seventh-seeded Socorro. “We need to start fast,” Correll said. “Especially coming to their place, they’ll be a little rowdy, a little fired up, but we think that our guys are hungry for a win. I think this’ll be a pretty good game.” Coming off a 21-0 District 4-3A loss to Lovington last week at Greyhound Stadium, Correll said there are more than a few reasons the Rams (3-7) want to come out and play well from the start. “The guys know they did not give their best effort last week,” he said. “We had a lot of things happen against us, turnovers, snapped balls over the head, just stuff that we haven’t done all year and then all of a sudden it just bites us. The kids are ready to redeem themselves and they’re hungry.” Defensive coordinator Mark McAfee agreed. “We played a little bit confused last week against Lovington,” McAfee said. “And I think that showed a little bit in the first half. I think in the second half, we got our wits about us and played a little bit better.” McAfee believes if the Rams play like they did in the second half against Lovington, they’ll have a fair chance against Socorro (7-3), which finished second in District 2-3A behind Hot Springs. The Portales coaching staff has pegged the Socorro running game as the top threat the Indians pose. One of their top runners is quarterback Emil Matthews. “We’re definitely going to have to contain him,” Correll said. “(We’ll have to) bring pressure from different places. I think that we haven’t really shown much of that this year. It’ll still be the same kind of front, but just bringing heat and pressure from different places.” McAfee said the Rams have to keep Matthews from getting into open space. “We’ve got to make sure we contain him and we can’t let him go vertical on us at all,” McAfee said. “We’ve got to make plays defensively.” “They don’t run it a whole lot, but when they do run it he is a playmaker. It’s almost like they use (their running backs) to set up the quarterback to run.” Correll also said many of Socorro’s passes are intended to set up the run. “Their plays are set up for him,” Correll said. “They try to get him out, the throws that he does are very precise type throws.” The winner of today’s game travels to face second-seeded Raton next week. “We really just focused mainly on eliminating the mistakes we made last week,” Correll said. “They run a defense that they can bring pressure so we really need to make sure that our front guys are prepared."
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