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Rams suffer first loss at Denver City

DENVER CITY, Texas — Although they played better again after the half, there would be no romp to victory this time for the Portales High Rams.

Nemesis Denver City made sure of that with an overpowering first-half performance Friday night as the Mustangs thrashed New Mexico’s top-ranked Class 3A squad 36-7 for their first win of the season.

Senior quarterback Russell Green threw for 129 yards and three touchdowns and added 54 yards rushing as Denver City (1-2) outgained Portales 387-165, holding the Rams (3-1) to just 19 yards on the ground.

Portales had won its previous games behind strong second-half play.

“That’s Texas football,” PHS coach Glenn Johnson said. “Their 0-2 record did not show what type of team they are.”

The Mustangs appeared to beat the Rams to the edges much of the night.

“Quickness and speed comes into play,” Johnson said. “They did an excellent job getting on the perimeters.”

After coming close to breaking something early, the Mustangs took advantage of pass interceptions by Erron Dawson and Rashaad Williams to set up the game’s first two scores late in the opening quarter, and they never looked back.

Denver City coach Terry Summers said his squad, coming off an open date, simply caught the Rams on an off-night.

“They didn’t play good, and that happens sometimes with 16 and 17-year-old kids,” he said. “We played better than we’ve played all year, and that’s why it turned out the way it did.

“We had two weeks to prepare for them, and that helped us. That was definitely an advantage that most people don’t see.”

Green threw touchdown passes of 5 yards to Timmy McCune and 10 yards to Shane Garner in the first half. A 9-yard TD run by Rowdy Warren and German Ortega’s 24-yard field goal in the final minute made it 24-0 at halftime.

“That’s the best game (Green’s) played,” said Summers, whose team begins Texas District 5-2A play on Friday at home against Post. “And we needed that.”

Portales mounted its only steady drive following the second-half kickoff, a 10-play march that carried to the Denver City 13. But two dead-ball offsides penalties in a four-play stretch helped stymie the Rams.

Denver City then made it 30-0 with a trick play, a fake punt that resulted in a 53-yard scoring pass from Green to Shawn Kelley with 4:49 left in the third quarter.

“We lined up (to try) for the block, to try to make something happen,” Johnson said of the play. “Then we had a missed assignment in coverage.”

The Mustangs, who had only two first downs after halftime, got their final TD on junior fullback Bobby Hunt’s 17-yard run one play after a Portales fumble early in the final quarter. The Rams countered with a seven-play, 69-yard drive for their lone score, a fourth-and-15 bomb from Rutherford to Carter covering 41 yards with 10 minutes left.

Johnson said he thought his team would put up more of a fight.

“I was surprised with the way we didn’t react when things started going bad,” he said. “When you’re lining up against a good football team, you’ve got to give 100 percent all the time and then if they’re better than you, you can accept that.”

Most of Portales’ offense came through the air. Carter and sophomore Mario Salazar each caught five passes for 74 and 51 yards, respectively.

Denver City 36, Portales 7

Portales 0 0 0 7 — 7

Denver City 14 10 6 6 — 36

Scoring summary

First quarter

DC — Timmy McCune 5-yard pass from Russell Green (German Ortega kick), 2:56

DC — Rowdy Warren 9-yard run (Ortega kick), 1:12

Second quarter

DC — Shane Garner 10-yard pass from Green (Ortega kick), 9:11

DC — Ortega 24-yard FG, :17

Third quarter

DC — Shawn Kelley 53-yard pass from Green (run failed), 4:49

Fourth quarter

DC — Bobby Hunt 17-yard run (kick blocked), 11:43

P — Chris Carter 41-yard pass from Tyler Rutherford (Mark Vanniewkoop kick), 10:03

Team statistics

Por DC

First downs 9 11

Rushes-yards 19-36 45-255

Passing yards 129 132

Total yards 165 387

Comp-att-int 13-35-3 9-19-0

Punting 6-30.7 4-34.5

Fumbles-lost 4-1 4-1

Penalties-yards 4-25 9-55

Individual statistics

RUSHING — Portales, Eric Segovia 3-20, Carter 6-16, Mario Salazar 2-3, Rutherford 8-minus 3. Denver City, Jeremy Flores 13-98, Green 7-54, Warren 10-43, Kelley 2-20, Bobby Hunt 3-17, Ray Romo 3-13, Kelby Clinton 5-6, Luis Hernandez 2-4.

PASSING — Portales, Rutherford 13-33-2-129, Salazar 0-2-1-0. Denver City, Green 9-19-0-132.

RECEIVING — Portales, Carter 5-74, Salazar 5-51, Taylor Teague 1-4, Daniel Aranda 1-0, Segovia 1-0. Denver City, Warren 3-44, Rashaad Williams 2-9, Kelley 1-53, Flores 1-11, Garner 1-10, McCune 1-5.

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