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

Rams impressive in scrimmage versus Robertson

Starters score three times, relegated to bench early

 

August 18, 2019

Kevin Wilson

Portales senior Jayden Killette crosses the goal line on a 40-yard reception after beating Robertson defender Antonio Padilla on the deep route

PORTALES - On a night of many positives, the biggest one from Ram football might be that they expect to be a lot better.

With eight days remaining before their season opener at Hope Christian, Portales generally outplayed Robertson in its home scrimmage and showed it expects to make a run for its second 4A title in four seasons and its fifth-consecutive year reaching at least the semifinal round.

"I thought we did well on both sides of the ball," Portales coach Jaime Ramirez said. "There are things we need to work on, and we want to make sure we aren't playing our best football early. We want to be at our best late in the season."

On offense, the Rams moved the ball through the air and on the ground, with Jalen Allen and Jayden Killette each grabbing deep balls and Wromiah Gbassagee dragging defenders with him for extra yards in the rushing game.

On defense, one could count the first downs Robertson got on offense, and still have enough fingers to grab a hamburger and a drink from the volunteer-manned cookout.

Portales players and coaches acknowledged Robertson was a little banged up coming in, and that the Cardinals will be much better should the two meet in the Class 4A playoffs.

But the Rams expect they'll be better in November than they are in late August.

Junior Baylor Diaz was pulled before the Rams' first-teamers were done with their alotted 15 plays, and his fellow starters were soon joining him on the sidelines as backups got a narrow majority of the Friday snaps.

"Everybody was executing really well," Allen said. "We are communicating well. Baylor was in at quarterback a little last year, and we still have that connection working."

Kevin Wilson

Portales' Carlos Delgado pushes for more yardage as he's tackled by Robertson's Estevan Marquez during Friday's scrimmage.

In his time behind center, Diaz completed a bomb on the left side to Allen that set up a 7-yard toss to Kellan Hightower, then started another series with a one-play drive as he found Killette for a 40-yard left-side bomb. Gbassagee found his way into the end zone on a short rush as well, and on offense he and Philip Blidi anchored a Ram defense that gave up no scores and had a Freddy Smith interception that would have been a defensive touchdown in a live-action game.

"Baylor threw the ball really well," Ramirez said. "I didn't have him out there too long; I saw what I needed to see."

The Rams played Carlos Delgado at quarterback after Diaz departed, and will likely have sophomore Hagen Rains - held out as a precaution - ready to fill in for Diaz if needed.

Portales opens its season with a 1 p.m. contest Saturday at Hope Christian, followed by a 1:30 p.m. Aug. 31 matchup at St. Michael's before a three-game homestand.

 
 

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