BLACKWATER DRAW — The Portales Rams’ 2010 football season ran out of time but not out of steam as Ruidoso snatched a 27-26 District 4-3A win and a chance at the state playoffs from the team’s grasp Friday.
Three failed conversions on the night left the Rams (1-9, 0-2 district) a point short when they got the ball back on their 40-yard line with 13 seconds left. A 28-yard pass from senior quarterback J.J. Collins to senior Lucas Banda advanced the ball to the Ruidoso 32 with six seconds left on the clock. Another pass over the middle to junior David Rodriguez ended the game as the Ram receiver was tackled at the Warrior 18.
“We were pretty worried,” Ruidoso coach Kief Johnson said. “They are big and strong up front and their record really doesn’t show how good a team they really are. We just scored one time out in front of them and managed to stay ahead.”
Johnson commended the play of Portales junior offensive lineman Morgen Hiner, saying, “Man I wish we had him up front for us.”
The Warriors (3-7, 1-1) scored first on a 7-yard run from senior Brendan Flack at the 5:30 mark of the second period. The Rams answeredimmediately with a 10-play 65-yard drive that culminated in a 7-yard touchdown run from junior Colin McAfee. Rodriguez dropped the conversion pass in heavy traffic and the Warriors led 7-6.
The two teams traded touchdowns through the rest of the game with McAfee rushing for one more and Collins rushing for one touchdown and passing to Rodriguez for another. For Ruidoso, Flack rushed for another scored and senior quarterback Jesse Scarafiotti threw for two more, hitting junior Julian Lopez both times.
With each team scoring four touchdowns, Ruidoso hit three out of four of its extra-point kicks while Portales went for the 2-point conversion each time and only converted once.
On defense, Stephen Shields and Ryan Hay had intercetions for the Rams.
“They never quit,” said Portales coach Mark McAfee, who figured his team would earn a berth in the 12-team state playoffs with a win. “They’ve done that all year, these guys never, Never shut down. If they carry that on with them through life, that perseverance, that stick-to-itiveness, they’ll be good men.”
Coach McAfee said a slow start was likely to blame for the loss.
“On a big game you can’t do that and win,” he said. “When we decided to play they couldn’t stop us.”
Indeed the Rams outgained the Warriors by more than 100 yards and had six more first downs.
Ruidoso, which has been ranked No. 8 most of the season in the coaches’ poll awaits a seeding meeting today to determine its playoff fate.