By Jesse Wolfersberger: CNJ staff writer
Bovina squeaked out another dramatic win Friday, beating rival Farwell 6-3 on Friday with a 40-yard field goal as time expired.
Senior Michael Ortiz set up the game-winner with two big plays.
On the final drive, Ortiz caught a 50-yard pass that put the Mustangs on the Farwell 30-yard line. Without any timeouts, Bovina hustled to the line and spiked the ball.
On second down, the Mustangs tried a shot at the end zone that fell incomplete.
With nine seconds left, Bovina decided to try the field goal on third down. The snap was bad, and Ortiz, the holder, scrambled for 6 yards and ran out of bounds.
On fourth down, James Lara hit the game-winning field goal from 40 yards.
Bovina coach Kent Torbert said Lara’s kick cleared the uprights by about 2 feet, and without Ortiz’s run, Lara might not have been close enough.
“He was hitting 42 and 43 yarders in warm-ups,” Torbert said. “I didn’t know if we were close enough the first time.”
Thrillers have been commonplace for the Mustangs, who have won two games in overtime this season.
“It’s been pretty wild,” Torbert said. “But it’s been a lot of fun.”
The win means Bovina (7-2, 4-0) is headed to the playoffs for the first time since 1996.
“It’s great,” Torbert said. “The community is excited, the kids are excited. We felt like it could be a special year.”
Running back Carlos Ruiz was back in the fold for undefeated Melrose (10-0) on Friday, helping the Buffaloes mercy rule Roy-Wagon Mound 48-0 in the six-man quarterfinals.
Ruiz finished with 259 yards and three total scores, but Melrose coach Dickie Roybal said he could tell the two-game absence had his senior out of shape.
“He was pretty winded Friday night,” Roybal said. “He was sucking eggs pretty hard this morning (at practice), too.”
Roybal said Ruiz started practicing again Wednesday.
The Melrose coach said while Ruiz was out, he still attended practices and games, but could not have looked more miserable.
“You could tell he was hating life at that time,” Roybal said. “I felt bad for the kid.”
Melrose faces district rival Logan in the next round, the Buffs defeated Logan 84-54 on Sept. 23.
Fort Sumner coach Dexter McDaniel said Friday’s forfeit by Springer due to lack of players came at a convenient time.
“It’s kinda nice, it lets us get healthy a little bit and get ready for the playoffs,” McDaniel said. “At one point our entire secondary was out, but they will all be back except for one.”
McDaniel said sophomore Jerrod Gauna (leg) is the only member of the secondary expected to miss Saturday’s playoff game.
The top-seeded Foxes host No. 8 Ramah in the first round.