Portales and Raton may be separated by quite a few miles, but the teams have developed a bit of a rivalry over the past few years.
They’ll renew it tonight when they match 2-1 records in a 7 p.m. kickoff at Raton.
It will be the sixth meeting for the teams since 2005, with two of them coming in the playoffs. Raton beat the Rams twice in both 2005 and 2007, eliminating Portales from the Class 3A playoffs in both years.
Portales shut out Raton 13-0 during the 2006 regular season.
“We certainly want to keep the rivalry going because they’re such a good team,” Tigers coach Brock Walton said. “They help us prepare for our district (3-3A).”
Walton said the Rams present a different challenge this year with their potent spread offense. Portales is averaging 36 points a game behind the leadership of senior quarterback Michael Trujillo.
“They’ve kind of been a secret all summer,” Walton said. “We knew they were going to be a very good football team. They gave us fits last year, and they had most of their team coming back.”
Rams coach Andy Correll, whose squad beat the Clovis junior varsity 22-0 in a rainstorm on Thursday, took advantage of the open Friday to scout the Tigers in a 40-12 loss to Socorro.
“I don’t know that they’re quite where they were last year, but they have the potential to be,” Correll said. “We’re expecting a good ballgame.”
Raton scored twice in the final six minutes to beat Trinidad, Colo., 22-21 in its season opener, then routed Taos 47-24 the next week. The Tigers’ leader is senior quarterback Jordan Carlini, who threw for more than 2,600 yards a year ago but has been hampered early in the season by a hip injury.
Other top players for Raton are senior running back Josh Sanchez, junior wide receiver-defensive back Janti Abaza and sophomore wide receiver-safety Justin Silva, whom Walton said has been “our most consistent player” so far this season.
“We both run the same (basic) offenses and defenses,” Correll said. “I think the winner is going to be whichever team executes the best.”
Portales will see most of Raton’s five-team district this season. The Rams walloped Las Vegas Robertson 51-7 in their opener, and will play St. Michael’s on Oct. 10 at Greyhound Stadium.