RUIDOSO — Senior running back Jesus Davalos scored his fifth touchdown of the game — a 13-yard run with 1:13 left — to clinch Portales High’s 54-39 victory over Ruidoso Friday night in the District 4-3A opener for both teams.
Davalos scored on runs of 8, 36 and 13 yards before turning a screen pass from junior quarterback Jeffrey Collins into a 70-yard TD early in the final period, breaking several tackles along the way to give the Rams (3-5) a 47-32 lead.
“I thought we executed pretty well offensively,” PHS coach Andy Correll said. “The only drives that they stopped us were on three interceptions.”
Collins scored the game’s first touchdown on a 3-yard run, and threw a 39-yard scoring pass to senior Shawn Carrasco as the Rams led 14-13 after one quarter.
Junior Brendan Flack scored both Ruidoso TDs in the period on end-around plays covering 13 and 3 yards.
After Davalos made it 21-13 with his first scoring run, senior quarterback Darryl Carr pulled the Warriors (3-5) to 21-19 with a 3-yard TD run. But a 2-point conversion pass fell incomplete.
Davalos then capped a Rams drive by going 36 yards off tackle to make it 28-19 at halftime.
Portales went for an onside kick to start the second half and Rams sophomore Ethan Larson recovered at the Ruidoso 44. Collins ended the drive with an 11-yard scoring pass to Cam Carling for a 35-19 cushion.
“It’s something we’ve been working on for a long time,” Correll said of the onside kick. “We decided to go for it, and we got lucky. We executed it pretty well.”
Car helped keep the Warriors in it with two touchdown passes to junior Jesse Scarafiotti on screen plays, the first covering 63 yards and the second 14. But Ruidoso was never able to catch up.
The defending Class 3A state champion Rams can all but lock up a trip to the playoffs next week when they host Lovington (6-2), a 28-24 winner at home over Albuquerque Academy on Friday.
“Lovington’s just good,” Correll said in what will be a rematch of last year’s 3A state final, won by Portales 48-10. “Skill-wise, they’re as good as anybody in the state.
“We’re going to have to buckle it up and try to learn to be able to stop somebody.”
Portales closes its regular season in a 3 p.m. game at Academy on Nov. 6.