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

Rams explode late to beat Dexter on gridiron


October 14, 2018

Kevin Wilson

Portales sophomore Baylor Diaz sheds the tackle attempt from Dexter's Marvin Johnson Friday night at Greyhound Stadium. Diaz had six carries for 15 yards in the Rams' 47-7 win over the Demons.

PORTALES — The Dexter Demons, hoping to pull an upset Friday over Class 4A Portales, played their ball-control offense to perfection to open the third quarter, with five first downs and a fourth-down conversion on a touchdown drive that took the half's first seven minutes.

The Rams took 58 seconds to counter, and the Demons never recovered.

Julian Urioste found Kellan Hightower for a 66-yard touchdown pass, and did most of the remaining work with his feet on a 34-0 close to give Portales a shockingly easy 47-7 victory at Greyhound Stadium.

Shocking because the visiting Demons (5-2) had largely matched the Rams on punches. That is, until the Rams hit overdrive.

"We definitely have some team speed," Portales coach Jaime Ramirez said on a night where the Rams (4-3) went for 381 total yards and five scoring plays of more than 30 yards. "(The Demons) were fast, they were especially fast, but Julian just went off tonight."

The senior carried the ball 15 times for 141 yards, scoring on touchdowns of 34, 43, 12, and 39 yards. But he said the biggest play had to be the one Hightower pulled, when he snagged an over-the-top route and then broke a pair of Dexter tackles to start a footrace he wouldn't lose over the final 35 yards.

"That play, it just gave us all the confidence," Urioste said of Hightower, who caught four passes for 120 yards and has four touchdowns in his last two games. "He caught it, and we all got hyped up."

It was definitely a tale of two halves — well, maybe a tale of 2.5 quarters and 1.5 quarters — as the Demons dodged enough punches to stay in the game before their lone scoring drive of 15 plays that ended with quarterback Jarren Amaro's 1-yard sneak.

The Rams had some successes, with Romeo Gbassagee finishing off a 14-play, 96-yard drive with a 3-yard score with 5:39 left in the second quarter and Urioste's first touchdown to end a four-play, 50-yard effort.

"We gave up some things we don't normally do," Ramirez said. "After their touchdown, we were able to make a quick score. You could see they looked a little defeated on their side, because after all that they were in the same place they were at the half."

The Rams' final four scoring drives — the fourth comprised only of a Gbassagee 35-yard run — combined for 161 yards on seven plays and 2:02 of possession time. Including Hightower's catch, Portales' second half was 227 yards on nine plays in exactly 3:00 of clock time.

The Demons, who play New Mexico Military Institute next week, had bright spots with 244 yards and 20 first downs to Portales' 17 despite the lopsided final.

"It gets you mentally prepared," Dexter coach Arturo Duran said of the pre-district battle with Portales. "We've got to be more mentally tough. We've got to play the whole game, not just one half."

The Rams, meanwhile, head to Ruidoso on Friday to begin a District 3/4-4A schedule with two of three games on the road. They'll host Moriarty on Oct. 26 and close out the regular season at Lovington on Nov. 2.


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