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

Rams expecting tough test at Dexter


October 9, 2019

PORTALES — Coming off one of its tougher challenges of the season, Portales High’s football team could be in for another test this week in its final pre-district game.

Defending Class 3A state champion Dexter awaits the Rams on Friday night in a 7 p.m. kickoff at Dexter, matching teams with identical 5-1 records.

“Dexter’s skill guys are extremely fast,” PHS coach Jaime Ramirez said. “On offense, they’re a multi-formation team. Their linemen have good size.”

The Demons, coming off a bye last week, have posted four wins by at least 21 points. Their lone setback came on Sept. 20 at home in a 40-14 rout by Eunice.

Key players for Dexter include senior wide receiver-linebacker Marvin Johnson, senior tailback Martin Meraz, junior running back-linebacker Ricardo Contreras and sophomore quarterback-safety Juan Fuentes.

The Demons start eight players both ways, Ramirez said, although he added that they also sub in frequently. Dexter is also hoping to turn around last year’s matchup at Greyhound Stadium, in which the Rams cruised to a 47-7 victory.

“Our goal going in is we want to play better this week than last week,” Ramirez said. “We always want to continue to improve.”

In last week’s 35-26 victory over Class 5A Capital at Santa Fe, Portales survived an early injury to junior starting quarterback Baylor Diaz. He sustained a high ankle sprain late in the first quarter after guiding the Rams to a pair of touchdowns and a 12-0 advantage.

Sophomore Hagen Rains took over at QB and helped the Rams hang on, although he too went out for a couple of series during the game with an ankle injury.

Senior Wromiah Gbassagee scored a pair of TDs for Portales, on a 29-yard run midway through the first quarter and on a screen pass from Rains covering 44 yards in the third period.

“We started off quickly, but after (Diaz) got hurt we (struggled for a while),” said Gbassagee, who plays running back and defensive end for the Rams. “It was really good to get tested, even without our (starting) quarterback.”

Ramirez said the Jaguars (3-3) gave his team all it wanted.

“They were a great ballclub,” he said. “They did a lot of good things. We had to really work to win that ballgame.”

Gbassagee believes the Rams will be fine this week if they simply come ready to play.

“I feel like if we play with intensity, we’ll be all right,” he said.

Portales opens District 3-4/4A competition a week from Friday against Ruidoso at Greyhound Stadium. Other district tilts are on tap at Moriarty on Oct. 25 and at home against Lovington on Nov. 1.


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