The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

District football could be on the line tonight for Rams


October 27, 2017

PORTALES — The Rams football team will head to Moriarty tonight in a matchup that may ultimately be the de facto district championship game.

The Pintos and Rams both enter Friday’s game at 7-1, with a 2-0 District 4-4A mark. Moriarty’s loss, 14-7 against Capital on Sept. 22, coming on what Portales coach Jaime Ramirez said was a “controversial call.”

Portales certainly knows that feeling, following its 21-20 loss at St. Michael’s on a debated 2-point conversion call earlier in the year.

Beyond running the same 3-3 defense, however, the comparisons pretty much stop there. Moriarty likes to take an old school approach to the offensive side of the football, as opposed to Portales’ modern day spread.

“(Moriarty is) gonna be in wings — and a fullback. They’re gonna run boot, trap, sweep,” Ramirez explained. “They do a little bit of belly option, and then they throw the ball — play-action passing to try to lull you to sleep with their run, run, run.

“They come out with a play-action pass, usually because the defense is thinking run. They have guys open, so we have to make sure we take care of both the run and the play-action pass.”

Moriarty’s offense may be straight out of 1950, but it’s still effective in the 21st century. In eight games, the Pintos average 318.9 rushing yards per game, while still averaging an astounding 7.9 yards per carry, to go along with 39 touchdowns.

The Pintos rushed for at least 345 yards in each of their first four games of the season, and have scored at least four touchdowns in all but one game.

After a couple weeks of being under the 300-yard mark, Moriarty recently ran for 361 yards on 59 carries to go along with five touchdowns in a rout of Hope Christian last week. In all, five players have at least 335 rushing yards to this point, while three others have at least 95 yards for the year.

For Ramirez’ defense, who struggled to stop the run in the St. Michael’s loss, this week poses a big test for them.

“We gameplan for each individual team as we play them — every gameplan’s different,” Ramirez explained. “This gameplan is no different than any other one in that we try to stop what they do best. That’s our goal, defensively. Offensively, we want to take advantage of where we feel there’s mismatches or alignment issues.”

Portales will certainly try to exploit as many mismatches and alignment issues as possible against the Pintos. However, the Rams will certainly feel the need to jump on Moriarty quick, as the Pintos defense is awfully stingy.

Moriarty’s defense has allowed even fewer points than the vaunted Rams defense this season (73 points to Portales’ 84). In eight games, the Pintos have 14 sacks and 13 interceptions, and have held opponents to seven points or less on four occasions in 2017.

Portales would lock up the District 4-4A crown with the win, as it would hold the head-to-head advantage over both Ruidoso and Moriarty. A loss, however, and Portales would have to defeat New Mexico Military Institute and have Ruidoso beat Moriarty next week to force a three-way tiebreaker.

“I think that there’s some things that we need to do,” Ramirez said.

“We need to make sure that we take care of the football on offense, and make sure that we establish the run. On defense, we need to stop the run. On special teams we need to make sure that we gain an advantage. We need to be on point with everything.”


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