Kevin Wilson: PNT Managing Editor
BLACKWATER DRAW — Here’s about all you need to know about Portales’ season opener against West Las Vegas:
The visiting Dons ended their first half with 55 yards rushing and a touchdown. Ram junior halfback Eric Segovia had 54 yards and a touchdown on the game’s opening drive.
The Dons didn’t have much luck, as Segovia ran wild for 201 yards on 18 carries for all five of Portales’ touchdowns in a 36-6 laugher Friday night at Greyhound Stadium.
It was a marked improvement for Portales, one week after a scrimmage where it failed to score against Littlefield, Texas.
“We had to do a lot of learning and a lot of tightening up to do with our offense and defense,” Segovia said, “but we knew (Littlefield was) a good team and that it would help us (on Friday).”
It certainly seemed that way early, as the host Rams took the opening kickoff and scored in four plays, the final a 24-yard burst for Segovia.
Segovia added a 5-yard run late in the first. By the time West Las Vegas put up its only score, a 27-yard reception by Anam Lucero with three minutes left in the first half, Segovia had surpassed the 100-yard mark with a 27-yard score, then added a 51-yard touchdown run for good measure.
“(Segovia) ran hard. The O-line held up pretty good,” Dons coach James Esquibel said. “They just played power (football) on us.”
The Rams completed only three passes in the contest, all in the first half, but they didn’t need much else with the power running game working so well in their favor.
Rams coach Glenn Johnson credited the scrimmage at Littlefield for helping the team prepare for the Dons.
“It helped us tremendously because we lined up and played against a very good Littlefield team. When you go across the border those guys expose things you need to work on.”
Credit Littlefield and the line, Segovia said.
“I think I did pretty good, executed well,” Segovia said, “but it still all came down to the blocking on the (offensive) line. We got good blocks from our receivers too.”
The Rams piled up 351 yards of offense, 299 on the run. Junior quarterback Mario Salazar added 42 yards of rushing and all 52 passing yards, while sophomore Ricky Lovato added 49 yards on 12 rushes.
Meanwhile, nothing went right for the Dons, who managed 189 yards of offense — 85 on their only scoring drive — and eight first downs.
On one of its more forgettable possessions in the second half, West Las Vegas had four straight penalties on offense and followed it up with a 10-yard loss on a quarterback sack. The ensuing punt from the 2 fell well short of the first down marker 38 yards away.
Two other possessions saw the Dons lose fumbles — one led to Segovia’s 5-yard rushing touchdown in the fourth, the other to a 19-yard field goal by Ezequil Soto to close the scoring.
“Our guys went out and played a good second half, though we had some turnovers hurt us,” Esquibel said. “They fought through it and played hard, and that’s a good sign.”
The Rams will go on the road Friday to face Class 2A Tularosa, while the Dons travel to Class 4A Aztec, also Friday.
West Las Vegas 0 6 0 0 — 6
Portales 12 14 0 10 — 36
P — Eric Segovia 24 run (pass failed), 10:10
P — Segovia 5 run (kick failed), 5:34
P — Segovia 27 run (Mario Salazar pass to Richard Cage), 5:38
P — Segovia 51 run (pass failed), 3:27
W — Julio Montoya 27 pass to Anam Lucero (pass failed), :20
P — Segovia 5 run (Ezequil Soto kick), 5:34
P — Soto 19 FG, 4:49
First downs 8 16
Rushes/yards 26-87 40-299
Passing yards 102 52
Total yards 189 351
Comp/att/int 10/21/0 3/9/0
Penalties/yards 6/35 2/15
Punts/avg 8/32.4 2/41
Fumbles/lost 4-2 2-0
Rushing — West Las Vegas, Andy Gonzales 18-70, Julio Montoya 3-3, Michael Sandoval 3-12, Eian Griego 2-2. Portales, Eric Segovia 18-201, Ricky Lovato 12-49, Mario Salazar 8-42, Chris Mosier 2-6
Passing — West Las Vegas, Montoya 19-24-0-102, Gonzales 0-1-0-0. Portales, Salazar, 3-9-0-52.
Receiving — West Las Vegas, Gonzales 4-37, Anam Lucero 1-23, Jason Torres 1-22, Eian Griego 2-12, Tomas Sedillo 1-7, Sandoval 1-1. Portales, Hunter Rackler 1-32, Richard Cage 1-13, Segovia 1-7.