By Dave Wagner
BLACKWATER DRAW — The Portales High defense played fairly well against a potent opponent Friday night.
Unfortunately for the Rams, Roswell Goddard’s defense was absolutely smothering.
How smothering? In a 14-0 loss to the Rockets at Greyhound Stadium, nine of PHS’ 12 rushing plays went for zero or negative yardage.
The game was called at halftime after about an hour’s wait because of a thunderstorm.
Junior quarterback Jesus Baca accounted for both Rockets scores. He made a late decision to pick up a punt near the sideline and returned it 36 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter, then threw a 35-yard scoring pass to junior Steven Chaves in the final minute of the half.
With the Goddard band just finishing its portion of the halftime show, sirens sounded and players and spectators were asked to take cover as thunder and lightning approached. The teams never made it back to the field.
“We had two mistakes and they scored two touchdowns,” PHS senior tackle-linebacker Todd Mosier said. “We were making adjustments at halftime. I think if they hadn’t called it, we could’ve given them a run for their money.”
The Rams (3-2) found themselves playing out of their own end of the field much of the way, especially in the first quarter. They did a creditable job of keeping the Rockets (3-2) in check.
“This is the best two quarters we’ve played all year,” PHS coach Glenn Johnson said. “I wish we could’ve finished the ball game, if nothing else to play two more quarters against a very good football team.”
Goddard’s first drive, covering 10 plays, ended on downs at the Portales 10. But the Rockets forced a short punt into the wind by Chris Carter, which appeared ready to roll dead near the Goddard sideline.
At the last minute, Baca apparently saw an opening, scooped up the ball and took it all the way past a startled Rams coverage unit.
“it was just a miscommunication in the coverage,” Johnson said. “We can’t let those things happen.”
Goddard missed another opportunity on its next possession when Baca had the ball stripped after a 20-yard gain and Rams defensive back Taylor Teague recovered at the Portales 3.
PHS then mounted its only drive of the night, carrying to midfield before dying on downs early in the second quarter. The big play was a 26-yard completion from Tyler Rutherford to Mario Salazar.
After an exchange of punts, the Rockets went 80 yards in 11 plays with Baca completing 5-of-6 passes, including the fourth-and-5 scoring toss to Chaves.
Chaves broke several tackles in the secondary to add an insurance touchdown.
“Defensively, we played real well,” Mosier said. “We knew we had to contain their quarterback; we thought if we did that, they wouldn’t hurt us too much.
“We played like crap at Denver City (the previous week in a 36-7 loss), so it was about time for us to step it up again.”
With two consecutive losses, the Rams have an open date coming up before hosting Class 4A top-ranked Artesia on Oct. 8. The Bulldogs were upended by Carlsbad 24-14 on Friday.
Roswell Goddard 14, Portales 0
Goddard 7 7 — 14
Portales 0 0 — 0
Game called at halftime, weather
RG — Jesus Baca 36-yard punt return (Steven DuCharme kick), 4:58
RG — Steven Chaves 35-yard pass from Baca (DuCharme kick), :21
First downs 6 2
Rushes-yards 19-95 12-(-9)
Passing yards 67 30
Total yards 162 21
Comp-att-int 6-10-0 4-8-0
Punting 1-30.0 5-30.4
Fumbles-lost 1-1 0-0
Penalties-yards 3-34 0-0
RUSHING — Goddard, Peter Martinez 7-35, Baca 8-33, Ryan Najar 4-27. Portales, Chris Carter 4-1, Eric Segovia 2-minus 4, Tyler Rutherford 6-minus 6.
PASSING — Goddard, Baca 5-10-0-59. Portales, Rutherford 4-8-0-30.
RECEIVING — Goddard, Jay Johnson 4-24, Chavez 1-35, Louie Melendez 1-8. Portales, Carter 2-5, Mario Salazar 1-26, Cruz Ontiveros 1-minus 1.