By Kevin Wilson: PNT Staff Writer
BLACKWATER DRAW — By looking at their pre-district schedules and records, one could reason that Portales and Lovington’s football teams started their district seasons on even ground.
After Friday’s 48-16 Lovington win, it seems the two have started on opposite paths in the Class 3A playoff race, and the Rams’ path is not one of least resistance.
Portales (2-5) has a tough road ahead with road games at New Mexico Military Institute and Ruidoso, and they’ll have to do it without junior running back Eric Segovia, who Portales coaches said tore his anterior cruciate ligament during punt coverage in the first quarter.
With Segovia hampered for most of the game, Lovington’s defense held Portales to 10 yards and a first down in the opening half.
Lovington 7 21 7 13 — 48
Portales 0 0 8 8 — 16
L — Jacob Copeland 2 run (Alonzo Evans kick), 2:03
L — Kevin Cartwright 25 pass to Corey Gervais (Evans kick), 11:22
L — Alonso Navarro 4 run (kick failed), 2:10
L — Cartwright 28 pass to Conrad Lovejoy (Cartwright pass to Reggie Hargrove)
L — Hargrove 9 pass to Gervais (Evans kick), 8:00
P — Cruz Ontiveros 2 run (Mario Salazar pass to Ontiveros), 2:09
L — Gervais 3 run (kick failed), 7:20
P — Salazar 48 pass to Ontiveros (Salazar pass to Taylor Teague),4:53
L — Navarro 40 run (Evans kick), 2:36
First Downs 24 10
Rushes-Yards 51-248 25-8
Passing Yards 155 135
Total Yards 403 143
Comp/Att/Int 8-11-0 11-20-2
Punts-Yards 0-0 3-30.7
Fumbles-Lost 3-2 2-1
Penalties-Yards 7-70 8-67
Records 4-4 2-6
Rushing: Lovington, Alonso Navarro 20-129, Reggie Hargrove 11-66, Jacob Copeland 8-30, Corey Gervais 3-10, Kevin Cartwright 8-10, Conrad Lovejoy 1-3. Portales, Eric Segovia 1-8, Cruz Ontiveros 13-8, Ricky Lovato 6-6, Mario Salazar 5-minus-14.
Passing: Lovington, Cartwright 7-10-0-2-146, Hargrove 1-1-0-1-9. Portales, Salazar 11-20-2-1-135.
Receiving: Lovington, Hargrove 3-77, Gervais 4-71, Navarro 1-7. Portales, Ontiveros 8-92, Josh Gonzales 2-25, Lovato 1-18.
Portales managed 133 yards in the second half, but Ram coach Glenn Johnson was disappointed that the Rams didn’t come through early.
“(Lovington) played well in the first half, and we didn’t play as well as we were capable of playing,” Johnson said. “We’ve got to get to the point where we line up and execute for four quarters of football.”
That’s what Lovington did, as the visiting Wildcats compiled 403 yards of offense and scored the game’s first 35 points. Senior running back Alonso Navarro rushed for a game-high 129 yards on 20 carries and two touchdowns, and senior quarterback Kevin Cartwright was efficient in passing for 146 yards and two touchdowns.
“I think our offensive line did a good job,” Lovington coach Speedy Faith said. “The defense was pretty aggressive. Probably, that was the difference.”
Lovington (4-4, 1-0) will play host Friday to Ruidoso, a 14-0 winner against New Mexico Military Institute. Lovington will also have a home game against NMMI.
“We’ve got to take care of business,” Faith said. “Ruidoso’s going to come to town and they’re going to be ready to play.”
Conversely, Portales’ schedule is rather unfavorable with two road games against New Mexico Military Institute and Ruidoso. Portales would likely assure itself a playoff spot with one win, but could reach the playoffs without a win as well with an at-large berth.
Playoffs aren’t Johnson’s concern for now, however.
“There may be a chance at the playoffs, but yet this football team has to understand that while we are capable of that, we have to show we’re capable of playing four quarters,” Johnson said. “Once that transpires,I think we will show the type of football team we are.”
Without Segovia, the Rams will likely rely on junior Cruz Ontiveros, who accounted for much of Portales’ second-half offense. Ontiveros scored both of Portales’ touchdowns, a 2-yard run in the third quarter and a 48-yard reception from Mario Salazar in the fourth.