Rams senior running back Ricky Lovato breaks through the line for a big gain on Friday at Ruidoso. Lovato rushed for 102 yards as Portales beat the Warriors 27-13.
RUIDOSO — After going up three touchdowns over Ruidoso in the first half, Portales had its hands full down the stretch. The Rams held off the Warriors here Friday for a 27-13 win.
The win is the second District 4-3A win in as many weeks for the Rams and sets up a showdown with Lovington Friday in Portales.
“We bent a little tonight, but we didn’t break,” Ram coach Andy Correll told his team in the post-game huddle. “I’m proud of every one of you guys.”
The Rams struck early after senior quarterback Chris Mosier hit a 44-yard strike to Brandon Adkins inside the five. A few plays later Mosier scored on a 3-yard run and Adkins ran the sweep for the conversion and an 8-0 lead.
Just a little over a minute into the second quarter Ricky Lovato got Portales’ second score of the night on a 9-yard run off tackle.
Ruidoso got its first taste of paydirt midway through the second after Warrior quarterback Jerrid Marquez hooked up with Lance Dettmer for a 22-yard pass. The Ram defense held several downs inside the redzone but Dettmer finally punched it in from the 1-foot line.
Lovato got another touchdown with 47 seconds left in the half, this one from 9 yards out. The kick attempt failed and the Rams led 20-6.
On the ensuing kickoff the Rams got a big break as one of the Ruidoso up-men fumbled the kickoff at midfield. With two timeouts left Mosier went to work with the Ram offense and soon found Josh Kelsey at the Warrior 14 for a 28-yard completion. Despite a penalty, the Rams used a 10-yard run by Lovato followed by a 7-yard pass to Adkins for the touchdown as time expired to make it 27-6 at the half.
“We wanted to keep the defense off the field as much as possible and those long drives (in the first half helped,” Correll said.
While the defense got a break in the first half, that wasn’t the case in the second. The Ram defense found their backs against the wall several times. Two sacks, the first by Zach Terry and the second by Isidro Duran got the Rams out of a red zone situation in the third.
Then after Sammy Martinez gave up a touchdown pass to Ruidoso’s Martin Morales early in the fourth, Martinez got the payback as he stepped in front of a Marquez pass at the Ram 30 and returned in to midfield.
A couple of rushing first downs by Lovato and the Warriors back was broken and they were out of time.
“My O-line came out and blocked pretty good for me tonight,” said Lovato, who ended the night with 102 yards rushing. “I wouldn’t have gotten those yards if the line hadn’t been working so hard, that’s for sure.”
Both Lovato and Correll said they felt the Rams stepped things up another level in their second district game.
“I felt like we came together as a team,” Lovato said. “Ruidoso is a real good team, if we hadn’t played so well together we wouldn’t have won.”
“This is not an easy place to play,” Correll said. “We really played pretty good.”
Mosier ended the night 9-for-13 for 140 yards passing with 67 yards on the ground himself.