Unbeaten Eagles blank Rams

Staff report
The Portales High boys soccer team didn’t score against Hobbs on Thursday, but the Rams weren’t the first ones this season to come up empty against the Eagles.

Hobbs scored twice in a two-minute span of the first half and that held up for a 2-0 victory on Thursday at the PHS soccer field, giving the Class 6A Eagles (4-0) their fourth consecutive shutout.

Hobbs has already beaten fellow 6A schools Mayfield (3-0) and Gadsden (1-0) at home, and won at Class 5A Artesia (5-0). Sophomore goalkeeper Tristan Zambrano turned away four shots by the Rams (0-1-1) for the shutout.

It was the second consecutive match against a 6A opponent for PHS, which played to a scoreless tie at Clovis on Tuesday night.

Junior midfielder D’Andre Finney tallied in the 13th minute and senior defender Rafael Chaparro added a goal shortly thereafter, both on shots from at least 25 yards out, Rams coach Nathan Dodge said.

“They’re pretty good,” Dodge said of the Eagles, “but we held our own. After the early part of the game, we settled down. We just have to get better at one-touch soccer.”

Sophomore Freddy Exiga, filling in with senior goalkeeper Lane Nichols out of town, managed to get a hand on one of the shots but couldn’t keep in from going in. Exiga, though, did make 12 stops.

“It took Freddy a little while to settle down back there,” Dodge said of Exiga, normally a defender. “He was just a little nervous.

“Overall, we played well. They possessed the ball about 75 percent of the game, but we’re starting to play better together.”

The Rams return to action on Tuesday with a 4 p.m. matchup at Moriarty. Meantime, the PHS girls will face the Lady Pintos at Moriarty in another 4 p.m. start.