Rams falter at NMMI

Portales sophomore Chris Mosier tries to find running room in the fourth quarter of Friday’s District 4-3A game at New Mexico Military Institute. Mosier gained 12 yards on the run. The host Colts defeated Portales 21-6. (Staff photo: Kevin Wilson)

By Kevin Wilson: Freedom Newspapers

ROSWELL — Portales’ second District 4-3A loss was a short one.

David Pickard rushed for 221 yards and three touchdowns and New Mexico Military Institute controlled the rushing attack and the clock in claiming a 21-6 victory Friday night against the Portales Rams.

Pickard scored all three of his touchdowns in the second half, starting with a 58-yard burst down the right sideline early in the third quarter to put the Colts (5-4, 1-1 District 4-3A) back in control of their district fate. The Colts would repeat as district champions with a win next week at Lovington. The Wildcats defeated Ruidoso 21-14 in Friday’s other district contest.

With the state’s new 16-team playoff format, the district win most likely puts the Colts in the playoffs regardless of next week’s result.

“We’re going to make the playoffs if we have anything left at Lovington,” NMMI coach Dwight Burns said. “Hostile territory, but you never know.”

Portales (2-7, 0-2) needs a win against Ruidoso and a Lovington win to earn an automatic playoff berth. Otherwise, the Rams will have to hope for an at-large berth.

“Going from here to Ruidoso, we’re going to have to go out and execute as a football team in all three phases,” Portales coach Glenn Johnson said.

The Rams, who scored first on a 5-yard scoring reception by Todd McBroom, certainly had their chances to win or at least pull even late against the Colts.

Trailing 14-6 with 11 minutes left in the fourth quarter, Ram quarterback Mario Salazar found Cruz Ontiveros for a 30-yard reception and a 50-yard reception.

On the ensuing first down from the Colt 19, however, Salazar was stripped on a keeper and NMMI recovered.

The Rams had another drive with seven minutes left in the quarter, but an unsportsmanlike conduct call pushed the Rams out of scoring range.

“We had to be able to take advantage of those opportunities when we had them,” Johnson said.

After Portales came up short on fourth down with 5:38 left, the Colts engineered a 10-play drive, all made up of Pickard runs. Pickard scored on a 13-yard run with 31 seconds to go.

“We didn’t fire on all cylinders all four quarters,” Burns said, “but we hung in and gave ourselves a chance to win.”

Pickard also had a 2-yard scoring run with five minutes left in the third. In all, 50 of NMMI’s 54 plays were on the ground.

“NMMI did an excellent job with how they lined up and controlled the tempo of the ballgame,” Johnson said.

The Rams forced a pair of first-half fumbles. The first fumble resulted in McBroom’s scoring reception, and the second stopped the Colts at the Portales 1.

District 4-3A
New Mexico Military 21, Portales 6
Portales 0 6 0 0 — 6
NMMI 0 0 14 7 — 21
Scoring summary
Second quarter
P — Todd McBroom 10-yard pass from Mario Salazar (kick failed), 6:13
Third quarter
N — David Pickard 58-yard run (Shelby Powell kick), 10:34
N — Pickard 2-yard run (Powell kick), 5:12
Fourth quarter
N — Pickard 13-yard run (Powell kick), :31
Team statistics
First downs 11 16
Rushes-yards 30-120 50-264
Passing yards 115 20
Total yards 235 284
Comp-att-int 10-19-0 2-4-0
Puntsing 5-31.6 3-36.0
Fumbles-lost 2-2 6-2
Penalties-yards 8-66 4-35
Individual statistics
Rushing —
Portales, Cruz Ontiveros 21-71, Mario Salazar 4-22, Chris Mosier 2-13, Ricky Lovato 2-11, Taylor Teague 1-3. NMMI, David Pickard 33-221, Nick McClelland 9-45, Zack Nishino 1-7, Jordan King 7-minus-9.
Passing — Portales, Salazar 10-19-0-115-1. NMMI, King 2-4-0-20-0.
Receiving — Portales, Ontiveros 6-79, Mosier 2-21, Todd McBroom 2-15. NMMI, Nishiro 1-16, McClelland 1-4.
Records — Portales 2-7, 0-2; NMMI 5-4, 1-1.