By Dave Wagner
BLACKWATER DRAW — The Portales Rams couldn’t come up with key plays when needed Friday night.
Junior running back J.J. Fierro rushed for 192 yards and three touchdowns on 30 carries and Roswell High pulled away to a 38-21 win over the Rams at Greyhound Stadium.
Portales (5-3) scored first, forcing a punt following the opening kickoff and going 70 yards in eight plays for the first of two Bronte Staugaard touchdowns, an 11-yard run around the right side. But the extra point missed, and the Coyotes (6-2) took the lead for good at 7-6 when sophomore Jared Perez scored from 11 yards out on the following possession.
It was the final pre-district game for the Class 3A Rams and the Class 4A Coyotes.
PHS coach Jaime Ramirez said the Rams’ special teams play too often let Roswell High have favorable field position.
“We played horrible on special teams, and we gave them a short field all night long,” Ramirez said. “You can’t do that against a good team like Roswell.”
After the early touchdown by Perez, the remaining Coyotes scoring drives each covered 47 yards or less.
Fierro scored on a 1-yard run in the second quarter, a 33-yard run in the third period and a 19-yard run to put the game completely out or reach with 1:45 left in the game. Junior quarterback Wyatt Venable, playing for injured starter Joseph Lovato (concussion), added a 7-yard run late in the half after a Rams fumble to extend Roswell High’s lead to 22-13 at the break.
The Coyotes also blocked a punt out of the end zone for a safety early in the second quarter and got a 36-yard field goal from sophomore Sergio Carvajal early in the final period.
The Coyotes finished with 347 yards rushing and a 361-220 margin in total offense.
“That was kind of the story of the game,” Coyotes coach Jeff Lynn said of his team’s rushing attack. “Our offensive line did a good job.”
The Rams will take a two-game losing streak into their District 4-3A opener next week at Ruidoso. Staugaard, who also had a 6-yard TD run in the second period, finished with 89 hard-earned yards on 21 carries and also caught three passes for 36.
The Rams’ final touchdown came on a 19-yard pass from senior Daniel Sanchez to senior Jarret Faust midway through the final quarter.
“We played better than we did last week,” Ramirez said, referring to a 42-32 loss to Hope Christian at Albuquerque. “We just came up a little short tonight.
“Ruidoso will be a real good challenge. We’re going to have to bring our ‘A’ game.”