By Kevin Wilson
BLACKWATER DRAW — In an NFL game, it’s usually a bad sign when the kicker is one of the team’s leading scorers. On Friday night, it was a very good sign for the Portales Rams.
Senior quarterback Seth Clabaugh accounted for 269 yards of offense and five touchdowns in the first half, and kicker Kevin Welch went 7-for-7 on extra points in a 49-0 pasting of Eunice in Portales’ Homecoming game at Greyhound Stadium.
Portales (4-2) scored on its first six possessions in the process of breaking a two-game losing streak, and played its junior varsity in the second half against the visiting Cardinals.
“What we talked about was no matter who we’re playing, who we’re lining up against, we have to execute and that’s what we did,” Portales coach Glen Johnson said. “I really don’t feel that anyone thought that we were intentionally running up the score or anything of that sort.
“Our starters played good football for two quarters and executed well for two quarters and that’s the way that it went.”
Welch was one of five Portales players to account on the scoreboard, and was third in points (seven) behind Clabaugh (18 on three rushing touchdowns) and Cole Parrish (12 points on rushing and receiving touchdowns).
“It felt good because I didn’t have to worry about warming up with every player scoring,” Welch said.
With Portales up 42-0 at halftime and the varsity offense resting on the sidelines, the only drama was whether or not Welch would get an opportunity to kick the first Rams field goal attempt in three seasons.
Eventually, the senior got two opportunities. With the offense stopped on a third-and-13, the Ram sideline clamored for the field goal attempt. Welch missed a 46-yard attempt to the left, but got second life on a running into the kicker call.
The Ram offense stalled again and Welch got a second attempt, this time from 43 yards out. Welch again hooked the ball to the left, but had no penalty to bail him out.
It wasn’t a concern for Welch, who consistently practices 50-yard attempts. Welch had the first field goal attempt since Toby Isaacs attempted one in a Class 3A quarterfinal game at Shiprock in 2000, Johnson said.
“I wanted to try a field goal bad just for experience,” said Welch, who said that he tends to hook the ball when he doesn’t kick from the left hashmark. “I got my shot, but didn’t take advantage.”
That wasn’t the case for the Ram offense, as Portales racked up 359 of its 446 yards of offense in the first half. Eunice (2-4) played a ball-control offense early on to keep the Rams from scoring, but the Class 2A Cardinals were overmatched in the end.
“We did run the ball well and I think we only had one three-and-out,” Eunice coach Gene Strickland said. “To go a full game against a 3A team and have only one three-and-out is pretty good.”
Clabaugh had scoring runs of 7, 45 and 50 yards, with the 50-yarder coming on a center trap to provide the exclamation point on the evening. Clabaugh hit Parrish for a 34-yard touchdown pass and Austin Pullen for a 4-yarder which was set up by Mat Lujan’s 55-yard reception.
Parrish had a 4-yard run for the Rams, and Deonte Wyche capped the scoring in the third quarter with a 59-yard pass from Tyler Rutherford.
Portales goes on the road Friday to play Artesia for the Bulldogs’ homecoming game — the Rams’ third-straight homecoming game. The Rams lost 33-18 at Goddard’s homecoming before hosting the Cardinals on Friday.