Portales High football coach Mark McAfee hopes experience proves to be a good teacher this season.
McAfee, a longtime Rams assistant, takes over the program this season for Andy Correll, who was named head coach in June at Vernon, Texas. McAfee has been with the program since 1991, including one season as head coach (1998).
The Rams, Class 3A state champions in 2008, went 3-8 last fall and were bounced from the playoffs in the first round by Hatch Valley.
“We had a lot of sophomores get baptized by fire last year,” McAfee said. “We’ve got a good corps of juniors now this year.
“Any time you go through a season like that, you hope you’ve matured and you can learn from that.”
McAfee said 66 high school players took part in a four-day camp which ended on Thursday, so he’s hopeful for a good turnout when practice begins on Monday.
“I’m hoping around 70 (come out); that would be nice,” he said. “Eighty would be great.”
The Rams will have freshmen practice from 7-9 a.m. this week, while varsity/junior varsity players will go from 4-8 p.m. at the PHS practice field.
Meantime, the Lady Rams volleyball team begins two-a-days on Monday. Coach Ruth Chavez said the team would run hills near Greyhound Arena on the Eastern New Mexico University campus from 6:30 a.m. to 8 a.m. each day, then return to the gym for regular volleyball workouts from 8:45 a.m. to noon.
Chavez, who became the head coach in 2001, won 3A state titles in each odd-numbered year until last fall, when the Lady Rams lost to Pojoaque in four games in the final.
Chavez said between 60 and 80 girls regularly took part in a summer open gym program.
“I think it’s going to be a good year,” Chavez said. “We have some good returning kids and a good freshman group coming up.”
The PHS boys soccer team is scheduled to have its first workout at 8 a.m. on Monday, while the girls are slated to practice at 2:30 p.m.
Dora, Elida and Floyd begin football and volleyball workouts on Monday.