Defending state champion Portales rode the leg of Julian Tellez, the legs of Tyrese Dawson and got a leg up on Hope Christian in District 4-4A with a 16-0 victory on Friday night at Milne Stadium.
The Rams (6-1) moved up and down the field much of the night, but couldn’t find the end zone until it was actually kneel-down time with 1:16 left in the game.
Dawson, the Rams’ super-mobile quarterback and cornerback, picked off a desperation heave by Hope quarterback Vince Quezada in the end zone with 81 seconds left and the Huskies (3-4) out of time outs. On the next play, Dawson blasted through the left side of line of an obviously deflated Hope bunch and raced down the left sideline for the 80-yard score. He had 43 yards rushing until that play.
“It felt good to finally break one,” said Dawson, an athletic senior who also threw for 181 yards — nearly all after scrambling. “We were able to move the ball at times, but we had trouble scoring.”
The first half nearly went scoreless, but the Rams capitalized on a Hope personal foul and a pass interference within three plays, which led to a 27-yard Tellez field goal with 2:12 left in the second quarter.
The Rams drove 71 yards in 12 plays to open the second half, but had to settle for another Tellez field goal — this one from 30 yards.
Tellez iced the game with a 35-yarder with 2:51 remaining.
“I did feel a lot of pressure, because it was such a low-scoring game,” said Tellez, a senior soccer player who never played football before this season. “It really feels good. In the first half, I was trying to judge the wind. Once I did, I felt comfortable.”
Tellez was just short on a 42-yard attempt and hit the right upright on a 28-yarder in the first half on another miss.
But the three he made all looked like they would have been good from at least 50 yards.
“I don’t think we were running on all cylinders,” said Portales coach Jaime Ramirez. “We’d have a good play or two, but kept shooting ourselves in the foot.
“Fortunately, the defense kept us in the game, and then our kicker? Wow! We really won that game 9-0. If that had been the final score, it would have been all special teams that made the difference.”
The Rams forced four Hope turnovers, held the Huskies to 183 total yards and blocked one of two Hope field goal attempts.
Portales also held Quezada to just one completion through the first three quarters.
Quezada finished 5-of-20 for 85 yards, and led his team in rushing with 64 yards on 22 carries — one a 33-yard keeper early in the third quarter.
Portales 16, Hope Christian 0
Portales 0 3 3 10 — 16
Hope 0 0 0 0 — 0
Scoring: P, Julian Tellez 27 FG; P, Tellez 30 FG; P, Tellez 35 FG; P, Tyrese Dawson 80 run (Tellez kick).
First downs: P 18, HC, 10; Rushes-yards: P 41-218, HC 34-98. Passing: P 13-27-1—208; HC 5-20-3—85. Total offense: P 426, HC 183. Punts-avg.: P 4-30.0, HC 7-40.7. Fumbles-lost: P 0-0; HC 1-1. Penalties-yards: P10-86, HC 7-65. Rec.: P 6-1, 1-0 4-4A; HC 3-4, 0-1.