The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Rams crush Colts to end season 9-1

First-round bye all but assured for defending 4A champs

 

November 4, 2017

Tony Bullocks

Julian Tellez kicks a 39-yard field goal in the first quarter of Portales' 51-0 win over New Mexico Military Institute. The Rams finished the season with a 4-0 record in District 4-4A and a 9-1 record overall.

PORTALES — The Portales football team's 51-0 win over New Mexico Military Institute on Friday, though hardly surprising, was a testament to how well the Rams are clicking as the regular season winds to a close.

A shutout — even for a team that was posting one for the fifth time this season to tie a school record, and doing it this time against a rebuilding program — is something to make a defense proud, especially a unit that allowed no first downs in the first half.

An offense that rolls up 51 points — 24 in the first quarter and 45 in the first half — is firing on every possible cylinder, even against a struggling team short of players.

It was a flat-out dominant performance for the Rams at Greyhound Stadium, as they notched their sixth straight win and improved to 9-1 overall, 4-0 against 4A District 4 competition.

"We played well," Portales head coach Jaime Ramirez said. "It was one of those deals where we're trying to get better each and every game. ... I think we played well in all phases of the game, to tell you the truth. ... It was a great all-around effort."

"It feels great getting a win like this at the end of the season," Rams junior quarterback Julian Urioste said. "It's good to go into the playoffs strong."

Urioste was one of the night's many shining stars. He rushed for 163 yards and two touchdowns on seven carries, and completed 6-of-8 for 79 yards and two scores, all while playing less than a half under center.

"He did what he was supposed to do at quarterback," Ramirez said. "I was proud of the way he played."

NMMI made a go of it, despite being short of players, with less than 20 available for Friday's game. "They're usually a really strong football team," Ramirez said.

The Colts tried to shake things up right away by attempting an onside kick on the opening kickoff. The kick, however, did not travel at least 10 yards, and Portales took over in great field position, at NMMI's 48.

Rams senior starting quarterback Tyrese Dawson went right to work on the first play from scrimmage, connecting with fellow senior Braden Bridges for a 27-yard pass. On the next play, Dawson looked to his right and found sophomore Jalen Allen for a 21-yard scoring toss. Julian Tellez's extra point gave the Rams a 7-0 lead with only 19 seconds elapsed in the game.

Portales' second possession was a nine-play drive that ended with Tellez lining up to attempt a 34-yard field goal. A false start penalty made it a 39-yard attempt, but Tellez successfully drilled a line-drive kick, increasing his team's lead to 10-0 with 7:01 still to play in the first quarter.

Portales' third possession was like its first — only two plays. After an incomplete pass on first down from the Rams' 49, Urioste called his own number on second down. He faked a handoff, started heading right, then cut left quickly, finding plenty of running room down the left sideline, so much room, he could practically walk into the end zone to complete the 51-yard scoring jaunt.

"The play was designed to go to the right," Urioste recalled, "and I went inside and saw a hole, and I just cut back to the left. Braden Bridges, he had a good block for me."

Tellez supplied the point-after, and Portales led 17-0 with 4:43 left in the first quarter.

Portales' fourth possession, still in the first quarter, began way back at its own 17. But the Rams quickly gave themselves wiggle room when Urioste completed a 45-yarder to Bridges, who showed great concentration by hauling it in with two defenders on him, bringing his team to NMMI's 38.

Five plays later, Urioste rolled right for a two-yard touchdown run. Tellez punched in the extra point, completing the first-quarter scoring by making it 24-0.

Portales' initial possession of the second quarter ended with another touchdown. This time it was Dawson's turn to show great concentration, leaping with a defender on him to pull in a nine-yard pass from Urioste in the right side of the end zone at the 8:32 mark of the second period.

A 16-yard slant pass from Urioste to Dawson, followed by Tellez's fifth extra point, increased Portales' lead to 38-0 with 1:33 left in the half, and one play after NMMI fumbled away the ensuing kickoff, Romeo Gbassagee ran for a 20-yard Rams touchdown. Tellez's point-after gave his team a 45-0 lead at the break.

Late in the third quarter, Portales ended it on the 50-point mercy rule, when Jose Solorzano took a fake punt 77 yards for a touchdown.

Just that quickly, the Rams' regular season was over. And they were anticipating a top-four seed, plus the bye week that comes with it.

"Most definitely," Ramirez said. "To heal and get much-needed rest and get re-focused. So that's gonna be nice."

They're pretty much a lock to get it, with Portales one of only three 4A teams with an 8-1 record heading into Friday night. The teams with the four best records after that include three teams Portales had already beaten.

"It's good going in as a top seed," Urioste said, "so we can have a first-round bye, get that rest and get ready for the second round."

 

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