Quarterback Chris Mosier and the Portales Rams play at Bloomfield today in the quarterfinal round of the state Class 3A football playoffs (CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks)
By Mickey Winfield: Freedom Newspapers
With their first playoff win in three years already behind them, and the confidence that comes with it, the Portales Rams aim to crash Bloomfield’s party as the second-seeded District 1-3A champion Bobcats (7-3) host the seventh-seeded District 4-3A champion Rams (5-5) in a 1 p.m. kickoff today in the Class 3A playoff quarterfinals at Bobcat Stadium.
While Bloomfield was awarded one of four first-round byes last week, the Rams began their playoff run by beating the Cobre Indians 43-14 on Friday night at Greyhound Stadium.
“(We’re) pretty excited to be at this point, but they still know that we’ve got some unfinished business,” first-year Rams coach Andy Correll said.
Bloomfield comes into today’s game having shut out its last six opponents, outscoring them 380-0 and scoring more than 56 points in each of their district games.
“I don’t think they played as tough of a schedule as we did,” Correll said. “Their district isn’t as strong as ours.”
Correll said he isn’t sure how Bloomfield’s bye will play out in today’s contest.
“They’ve had a week off, and that’s either good or bad,” Correll said. “I don’t know how they’ll respond to that. I’m hoping they’re a little rusty.
“I don’t think they’ve been tested since week three or four. I kind of think we’ve got those things going to our advantage.”
Bloomfield coach Bruce Hatch sees the extra week to prepare for today’s game as a positive.
“I’m glad we had (the week off),” he said. “It’s good for the seeding purpose. Would I have liked to play a game? Yes, but as far as health, we were healthy going into the bye week, (and) it just gave us a chance to iron out some things.”
On the other hand, Correll said the Rams have processed their disappointment with the low seed, and welcomed another week to polish up.
“We’re passed that point,” Correll said. “We’re glad we got to play.”
There was one negative out of the Rams’ game against Cobre as lineman Erett Grubbs broke his collar bone, and will be replaced on the line by a rotation.
While the drive to Bloomfield may be long, the game is likely to be short. Both teams like to control the clock by running the ball.
According to Correll, the Bobcats don’t do anything fancy. The Rams anticipate Bloomfield playing out of the wishbone formation. That makes sense when you consider that Hatch compiled hundreds of yards playing in the wishbone formation under Bud Elliott at Eastern New Mexico University in the late ’90’s.
“We like to run the ball,” Hatch confirmed. “We do have the ability to throw it whenever the need arises.”
When the Rams are on offense, expect a heavy dose of junior quarterback Chris Mosier running the veer, along with their ‘Thunder and Lightning’ combination of senior running backs Eric Segovia and Cruz Ontiveros.
“I still believe that our misdirection is going to hurt them, and then also the veer,” Correll said. “Nobody’s run the veer on them so, if you haven’t seen that, than it’s pretty hard to stop.
“(It’s hard) getting ready for it in just one week. We’ve also got a couple new wrinkles that we added this week, and I think we’re going to be ready.”