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

Rams expect battle from No. 10 Colts


November 13, 2019

PORTALES — Portales Rams senior lineman Philip Blidi is looking forward to a college football career. For now, though, he still has some unfinished business.

The 6-foot-4, 258-pound tackle/defensive end is hoping to help his team advance in Saturday’s 1 p.m. Class 4A state quarterfinal game against Silver at Greyhound Stadium.

“I’m anxious to get going,” Blidi said Monday as the Rams (9-1) returned to work following last week’s first-round bye. “It’s my senior year and my last ride. I’m anxious to keep it going and possibly win a ring (state championship).”

Blidi has verbally committed to Texas Tech, which is looking at him on the defensive side of the ball.

“They’ve said I could play anywhere from a three-technique (down lineman) to defensive end,” he said. “I’m very excited. All the coaches there have built a good relationship with me. I like all the coaches, but (defensive line) coach (Paul) Randolph and I have gotten closer.”

For now, though, Blidi & Co. are focused on the 10th-seeded Colts (6-5), who went on the road and upended No. 7 Taos 29-26 last Saturday.

“I watched it on You Tube,” Blidi said. “Silver has a good team; they run the ball really well. I think we need to execute what our coaches are calling and try to impose our will on them.”

Last week’s bye came at a good time for the Rams, coach Jaime Ramirez said.

“We got some guys healed up a little better,” he said. “It was an opportunity for us to let our bodies recoup.”

PHS coaches got a look at the Colts up close and personal, scouting the contest at Taos.

“They run the ball well, and the quarterback (junior Walker Wenzel) threw it well against Taos,” Ramirez said. “On film they looked good, but they were more impressive in person.”

About seven players go both ways for Silver, although the Colts are able to substitute extensively in the line.

Ramirez called Wenzel “versatile” at the quarterback position, and said senior running back Michael Aguirre also had a good outing at Taos.

“I think their defensive line is real aggressive; they come after you,” Ramirez said. “They’ll probably man up on us (at the receiver positions) and send a lot of five or six-man pressures.”

He said the Rams match up pretty well with the Colts.

“I think we have good size and speed also,” Ramirez said. “At this point, records don’t mean anything. It’s a matter of who shows up on Saturday.”

Junior quarterback Baylor Diaz returned to the lineup in the Rams’ regular-season finale against Lovington and played reasonably well after missing nearly five games with a knee injury.

He’ll be in the lineup against Silver, with senior Kellan Hightower and sophomore Hagen Rains available if necessary. Those two filled in well with Diaz on the sidelines.

Ramirez said that since his return, Diaz has been splitting reps about evenly with Hightower in practice.

“They’ve been working all year long at quarterback,” he said of the trio.

The teams have met twice in the playoffs since Ramirez came to Portales eight years ago, both games coming in the quarterfinal round. The Colts won at home in 2014 while the Rams returned the favor two years later.

If they win, the Rams will meet either sixth-seeded Aztec or No. 3 Lovington, who play Saturday in Lovington, in the semifinal round next week. They would host Aztec or travel to Lovington.


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