One week after Portales scraped by Robertson 42-41 in the football season opener, rather stunning news for the Rams’ faithful — in the midst of a loss to Muleshoe — came over the loudspeaker.
It was a score from another game.
Lovington, Portales’ chief rival the year before and often chief rival regardless, had smashed that same Robertson team 44-0.
For the Rams, it was a signal that Lovington was pretty good and that Portales had a long way to go.
Nine games into the regular season, Portales (3-5) will find out how it measures up against the top-ranked Wildcats when the teams collide tonight at 7 p.m. at Greyhound Stadium.
Lovington coach Jaime Quinones sounds practiced in his speech, perhaps reiterated many times to his players, about Portales — and dismissing the relevance of early-season scores.
“They’ve put a lot of points on the board the last couple of games,” Quinones said. “In district, you throw out all records and previous scores. You better come ready to play.”
Lovington, which came from behind to beat Albuquerque Academy 28-24 in its district opener, is led by junior quarterback Jacob Jameson as well as running backs Robert Hargrove and Edgar Medina.
Portales outscored Ruidoso 54-39 in a road game last week to start its District 4-3A slate with a win.
In 2008, the Rams lost to Lovington in a regular-season game before rebounding to smash the Cats 48-10 in the Class 3A state title contest.
Rams coach Andy Correll is counting on the Wildcats entering the game bent on revenge.
“I’m hoping that they’re overzealous — kind of the way we were last year in the regular season,” Correll said. “We’re playing a lot better football now. The kids are believing in themselves and I think we’re peaking at the right time.”