Rams finish season with loss at Lovington
Last updated 10/30/2021 at 4:32pm
LOVINGTON — The Portales Rams ran into a hot football team on Friday night as they saw their 2021 campaign likely come to an end.
Lovington wrapped up its first perfect district season in 10 years, building a 19-0 halftime lead and handing the Rams a 39-7 District 4-4A setback in the regular-season finale for both squads.
The Wildcats (7-3, 3-0 district), ranked No. 1 in Class 4A, won their fourth game in a row and figured to get the top seed and a first-round bye in the 12-team playoffs, which were to be announced Saturday night by the New Mexico Activities Association.
“Undefeated district championship, hasn’t happened (for Lovington) since 2011,” Wildcats coach Anthony Gonzales said. “I’m so unbelievably proud of our kids, especially because we faced a little adversity earlier in the week — we found out our quarterback (Ashton Aranda) wasn’t going to be able to play this week.”
Gonzales described Aranda’s injury as minor, but significant enough that the coaching staff didn’t want to risk playing him.
Meantime, Rams coach Jaime Ramirez said he didn’t think his squad (2-8, 0-3) had any chance of earning a playoff berth.
“The whole season was just tough,” Ramirez said. “The kids fought hard (on Friday night) and played good in spots. They just beat us in every facet of the game.”
Portales’ lone tally came as the result of a 91-yard drive in the third quarter, ending with a 25-yard touchdown run by sophomore quarterback Devin Diaz.
“We had a couple of long drives that didn’t end up in scores,” Ramirez said. “Our kids fought hard the whole time, and that was good to see.”
With Aranda out for the Wildcats, senior Issac Hinson stepped in and rushed for three touchdowns while passing for another.
“Issac stepped in and did an unbelievable job,” Gonzales said. “I feel like he’s the best high school football player in the state of New Mexico. He’s a special player (and) we’re blessed to have him on our team.”
Hinson also shone on defense, coming up with an interception and a forced fumble. Demarcus Thompson notched a touchdown reception for Lovington, while freshman Ondalis Cardenas rushed for a score.
The Wildcats will go into the playoffs on a roll.
“I feel like our team’s coming together at the right time,” Gonzales said, “especially having to make the adjustment at quarterback this week.”
The Hobbs News Sun contributed to this report.