BLACKWATER DRAW — Portales kept defending 4A champion Goddard slightly off balance through most of the first half, but the powerful Rocket rushing game eventually crushed the Rams 42-0.
“That first half I think we played a good ballgame,” said Portales coach Mark McAfee. “We’ve got to put four quarters together, though. I thought we did that to some degree last week in Raton but not tonight.”
The evening may have carried a higher price than just a non- district loss for the 0-5 Rams. Junior running back Wyatt Legler was carried to the sidelines late in the third quarter with a knee injury and senior linebacker Garrett Hancock went out with an injured hand during the game. McAfee said the extent of their injuries isn’t known yet.
Portales has been plagued with injuries this season after losing starting quarterback J.J. Collins for two games and running back Lucas Banda for one earlier in the season.
“We kind of expect to get a little dinged up when we play Goddard (because they’re so physical) but this is the first time we’ve ever lost two players,” said McAfee.
The Rams moved the ball well on their first series of the game after two receptions to Banda and a 14-yard Colin McAfee carry moved the ball to the Rocket 44. On fourth-and-2, Collins’ pass wound up in the hands of a Goddard defender at the Rocket 41.
The first Goddard series was a rushing clinic for the Rams, though as Goddard junior David Anaya rushed for 48 of his 141 yards before rumbling in for a 10-yard touchdown with 5:02 to play in the first quarter. Anaya would rush for the Rockets (4-0) last two touchdowns in the third quarter as well, on rambles of 2 and 14 yards respectively.
Goddard got their second score when junior quarterback Ryan Greene hooked up with senior Said Fuentes for a 30-yard strike to lead 12-0 with 2:23 left in the first quarter. Fuentes caught a 45-yard touchdown pass with 10 seconds left in the half to give the Rockets a 28-0 advantage at the half.
The Ram offense had its only encounter with the red zone early in the second quarter after sophomore Ethan Larson sacked Greene on third down forcing a Goddard punt. With field position at the Goddard 36 after the punt, Portales went to work.
McAfee, who finished with 75 yards, rushed for 16 yards on four carries during the drive and a 15-yard pass interference penalty to move the ball to the Rocket 8. The effort stalled after McAfee was stuffed by the Goddard defense on consecutive plays and a Ram penalty. Two passes later Portales turned the ball over on downs.
Goddard coach Sam Jernigan gave Portales credit for a game effort.
“Coach McAfee always has his team ready with great schemes and I’ve got to give them a lot of credit,” Jernigan said. “His kids always come to play — they’re going to be there at the end.”
Jernigan said he wanted to reserve judgment on how good his team’s effort was until he had looked at game film.