Rams set to begin title bid

By David Norton
PORTALES — The Portales High football team’s wait is over, as it will take the field today after its bye week to face off against Silver City in the New Mexico class 4A state quarterfinals.

Playing host to the Fighting Colts at Greyhound Stadium with a 1 p.m. kickoff, the Rams should be looking sharp and ready to go.

“Our boys have done a good job of staying focused, looking at who’s next,” said Rams head coach Jamie Ramirez. “Last week was a little different because we didn’t know who we were going to play. It allowed us to work more on technique and watch more film on ourselves.”

Portales will be relying on its high-powered offense today, putting the ball in the hands of talented play makers like quarterback Junior Ramirez and Darion Ontiveros. Ramirez has thrown for 1,257 yards and 17 touchdowns, averaging over 20 yards per completion on the season. Both players average over 100 yards rushing per game, scoring a whopping 38 touchdowns on the ground.

The senior quarterback said, “We have just been preparing on their offense and defense. Honestly, its about the front lines. As soon as we get past their front line we’ll be good because they play a lot of man. We are just going to do what they give us.”

Portales brings with it a five-game winning streak and a 9-1 record, while Silver City, after some early-season struggles, seems to be hitting it stride at the right time. The 10th-seeded Colts are coming off a 49-16 win over Shiprock in the first round of the playoffs last weekend. The fighting Colts are still under .500 on the season though, entering today’s contest at 5-6.

Silver (5-6) at Portales (9-1)
1 p.m., Greyhound Stadium
On the radio: KSEL 105.9 FM. KCLV 1240 AM, online at kclvsports.com
Impact: The winner goes on to a semifinal against either No. 3 Moriarty or No. 6 St. Michael’s. Portales would host in either case.
Last week: Portales had a bye week as the No. 2 seed in the Class 4A bracket. The 10th-seeded Colts cruised to a 49-16 win over sixth-seeded Shiprock.
Last meeting: 1995, Class 3A semifinals, Silver 23-0. Portales leads the series 3-2.
Common opponents: Ruidoso is the only team both the Colts and Rams faced in 2016. The Warriors hosted both teams, defeating Silver 36-33, and losing 58-23 against Portales.
Notes: The teams remaining on the other side of the 4A bracket are  No. 1 Robertson, No. 4 Cobre, No. 5 Hatch Valley and No. 8 Ruidoso. Should Portales win its next two games to reach the title round, it would host everybody but Ruidoso. Portales hosted Ruidoso in the 2002 Class 3A title game, visited Robertson in last year’s 4A semifinals and visited St. Michael’s in the 2006 3A semifinals. The Rams have no playoff history with Hatch Valley, but would host by virtue of a higher seed.