PREP FOOTBALL: New PHS coach feels at home

Fort Sumner coach Dexter McDaniel, left, celebrates with an assistant coach after the Foxes beat Texico 14-7 to win the Class 1A state championship last November. (CNJ file photo)

By Dave Wagner: CNJ sports writer

Andy Correll may be from Knox City, Texas, but he feels quite comfortable in Portales.

A former assistant at Portales High, Correll is preparing for his first season as Rams head coach. He was chosen in May to replace Glenn Johnson, who stepped down after seven seasons at the helm.

“This is like coming back home,” said Correll, who earned an undergraduate degree in 1996 and a graduate degree in 2003 from Eastern New Mexico University. “I am from Texas, but I lived here for 10 years. This was a pretty good opportunity for me.”

With two-a-days starting for most high school teams on Monday, Correll is among three new area head football coaches this fall. The others are Mark Anglin at Farwell and Hector Guevara at Bovina.

Correll, Johnson’s offensive coordinator from 1999-2001, hopes to help the Rams bounce back after going 5-16 over the past two seasons.

“Our whole thing is making sure we’re doing the right things, changing some attitudes around here,” said Correll, who has spent the last three years as an assistant principal in Texas. “Our biggest selling point is we want to work hard.

“I think if the kids put in the effort, sometimes you can overcome (what you lack in) talent.”

Farwell and Bovina compete in the same district. Last year, the Mustangs edged Farwell 6-3 en route to ending about a 10-year playoff drought.

Guevara is a Bovina graduate and had spent eight seasons as a Mustangs assistant, the last three as defensive coordinator.

“We’re hoping we started a turnaround last year,” Guevara said. “As long as we stay healthy, I think we should be OK.”

He acknowledges there is more responsibility as a head coach.

“It’s a different feeling, for sure,” Guevara said. “Stepping on the field for the first time, I hope it’s not too overwhelming, but I just can’t wait.”

Anglin, meantime, is trying to get Farwell back to the playoffs following back-to-back 4-6 campaigns.

“I think the kids here have a good work ethic,” he said. “The key to us getting to the playoffs will be if we can coach everyone to reach their potential.”

Even though the Steers return only a handful of starters on both sides of the ball, Anglin said he could see that working to their advantage.

“It doesn’t hurt us as much as it might because we’re putting in a new offense and a new defense,” he said.

Area prep football capsules
New Mexico
Clovis Christian Eagles
8-man District 4
Greg Darden (6th year)
2005 record: 3-6 (0-4 six-man District 3)
Of note: CCS returns eight seniors from last year’s team, including five who were starters.
Quotable: “It’s going to be interesting. I think everyone is going to start out even.” — Darden, on the switch of his and other teams this season from six-man football to eight-man.

Floyd Broncos
8-man District 4
Rafael Roybal (2nd year)
2005 record: 4-5 (2-2 six-man District 3)
Of note: Floyd reached the six-man state finals two years ago, losing to Melrose 74-60.
Quotable: “We know what offense and defense we’re going to run, but right now our biggest problem is finding enough kids to play.” — Roybal, concerned about numbers, especially with the jump to eight-man.

Fort Sumner Foxes
District 2-1A
Dexter McDaniel (3rd year)
2005 record: 11-2 (3-0 district), won Class 1A state championship.
Of note: Of their six state championships, the Foxes have beaten Texico in the finals five times, including last year.
Quotable: “We’re going to be young, but our guys have been working hard.” — McDaniel.

Melrose Buffaloes
8-man District 4
Dickie Roybal (10th year)
11-1 (4-0 six-man District 3), lost in the six-man state finals to Gateway Christian.
Of note: Roybal has led the Buffs to the state six-man finals five times in nine years, winning the title in 1999 and 2004.
Quotable: “We lost six good seniors. The kids we have now have good experience, but we’ve got a lot of work to do.” — Roybal.

Portales Rams
Class 3A
Andy Correll (1st year)
2005 record: 2-9 (0-3 District 4-3A)
Of note: The Rams opened 3-0 in 2004 and finished 3-6; they were 2-0 last year before losing their final nine games, including a first-round 3A playoff loss at Raton.
Quotable: “We’re pretty excited. We had a pretty good turnout over the summer, and the guys have worked pretty hard.” — Correll.

Texico Wolverines
District 3-2A
Mike Prokop (7th year)
2005 record: 7-5 (3-0 district), lost to Fort Sumner 14-7 in the Class 1A state championship game.
Of note: After moving up from 1A this season, the Wolverines are playing an all-Class 2A schedule that includes several new opponents: Carlsbad’s junior varsity, McCurdy, Canadian, Texas and New Deal, Texas.
Quotable: “Our goal this year is to see if we can get back (to the finals, this time in 2A). We’re going to be young, and we’re stepping up a level in competition.” — Prokop, whose squads reached the 1A finals each of the last five years and won championships in 2003 and 2004.

Bovina Mustangs
District 4-1A
Hector Guevara (1st year)
2005 record: 7-4 (4-1 district)
Of note: Bovina reached the 1A playoffs for the first time in a decade last fall, losing to Quanah 19-8 in a first-round game at Amarillo.
Quotable: “I don’t know too much about them, except they’re all pretty good programs. I think they’ll help us get ready for the district.” — Guevara, on new non-district foes this season in Clarendon, New Deal and Wellington.

Farwell Steers
District 4-1A
Mark Anglin (1st year)
2005 record: 4-6 (2-2 district)
Of note: The Steers posted a 26-25 record the last five seasons under previous coach Jacob Thompson.
Quotable: “I haven’t checked, but I don’t think Farwell has beaten (district rival) Nazareth since about 1652. We want to be competitive in every game.” — Anglin.

Muleshoe Mules
District 2-2A
David Wood (10th year)
2005 record: 8-3 (2-2 District 2-3A)
Of note: The Mules have made the 3A playoffs in seven of the last eight seasons under Wood, reaching the state semifinals in 2000.
Quotable: “Obviously, we’re going to have to be patient during two-a-days. We’re going to be (looking at) kids who’ve never been out there before.” — Wood, noting that two of the Mules’ three returning starters this season will be playing new positions.

— Compiled by Dave Wagner