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

Rams rout Lovington to claim district


November 4, 2018

LOVINGTON — The Portales Rams have certainly earned a week off. But with the way they're playing, they might not need the break.

Jalen Allen and Kellan Hightower both scored a pair of touchdowns, and the Rams dominated Lovington 48-6 to claim the District 3/4-4A title Friday night at Wildcat Stadium.

During its current five-game streak, Portales (7-3, 3-0) has not been held below 46, has not allowed more than 14 and has outscored its competition 244-27 with a running clock in the second half of each contest.

"Honestly, we did a good job of forcing the quarterback to throw when he didn't want to and scramble," Portales coach Jaime Ramirez said of the defensive effort. "I thought our secondary did a great job of staying with receivers, and our front six was outstanding taking care of the run and forcing him to throw then he didn't want to."

Portales dominated all three phases of the game, scoring on offense, defense and special teams. They got the first two early, courtesy of junior Jalen Allen.

"What got us started was we ran a screen to Jalen Allen," Ramirez said. "He ran that in from about (60) yards. Next defensive series, Jalen intercepts it and runs it (83) yards for a touchdown. Jalen had a big night and really set the tone for the ballgame."

Hightower had a pair of long scoring catches, 45 yards from Julian Urioste and 73 from Baylor Diaz, who played most of the second half at quarterback after Portales went up 35-0 on a special teams touchdown — a blocked punt by Romeo Gbassagee recovered in the end zone by Phillip Blidi.

Urioste had a 78-yard scoring run in the first half, and Gbassagee had a 56-yarder to cap the scoring for Portales.

The Rams have the resume for one of the top two seeds in Class 4A, which were decided after press time Saturday night. But they should at the very least receive one of the top four seeds that include a first-round bye and a home quarterfinal.

Portales is one of five teams in the classification with at least seven wins, and all three of Class 4A's district champions sitting at 7-3 — St. Pius took District 1-4A and Kirtland Central took District 1-4A and St. Pius District 2/5-4A.

Taos is 9-1 and Grants is 8-2, but both finished behind the Sartans. Portales has two wins over district champions (St. Michael's and Dexter), but St. Pius has a head-to-head advantage over the Rams by virtue of a 21-20 win Sept. 22.

"Our district is pretty strong," Ramirez said. "Lovington was ranked No. 5 on Maxpreps and Ruidoso was No. 7. Our top three teams are top 10, for sure, and Moriarty's right outside.

"I would think that we're a top four. But you know how I feel about seeding. You've got to beat the team in front of you, so it doesn't matter what the number next to their name is."


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