The Portales Rams have a big chore ahead of them tonight.
The Rams (0-4) will try to get their first win of the season when they host defending 4A state champ Roswell Goddard (3-0) in a 7 p.m. kickoff at Blackwater Draw.
To do that, Portales coach Mark McAfee says stopping a hot Rockets running back with a Portales connection will be high on his team’s task list.
David Anaya has rushed for 713 yards and eight touchdowns for the Rockets, according to the Roswell Daily Record. Anaya’s connection to Portales includes three cousins, Sergio, Raul and Ricardo Anaya, who played football for the Rams during the time McAfee has been a coach at PHS.
Sergio and Raul went on to play football at Eastern New Mexico University, and his brother, Desmond Anaya, is a junior with the Hounds
“He’s got the football gene,” said McAfee of David Anaya. “We’ve got to make Anaya run east and west instead of north and south.”
McAfee says his defense has stepped its play up progressively all season, and in that respect may be a little ahead of the offense in terms of improvement. He said the Rams needs a big game from their defense, but they can’t be expected to carry the load alone.
“It’s like we talked about last week with Raton’s offense, we still need to keep Goddard’s offense off the field,” McAfee said. “If they three-and-out us a lot, it’s going to be a long night.”
The Portales offense, behind the running of junior running back Colin McAfee, has done a decent job of controlling time of possession against Raton and Texico in the last two weeks. The Rams also outgained those two opponents in rushing yards, with Colin McAfee posting 100-yard rushing performances in both.
Despite losing those games on late scores, coach McAfee is pleased with how his team has come along, especially in the Raton game.
“We made a couple of mistakes at crucial times that set us back but didn’t defeat us,” McAfee said of the Raton tilt.
He said at the time that turnovers and mistakes at critical times contributed heavily to the Texico loss.
“It’s going to be a tough one,” McAfee said. “They’re (Rockets) playing really great, but we’re playing better and better. We’ll see.”