LAS VEGAS, N.M. – With time trickling down to the final seconds and the sideline fast approaching as he scrambled from the collapsed pocket, Ruidoso quarterback Brennam Stewart lofted a pass toward receiver Gabriel Dorame as he came open across the back of the end zone.
Dorame’s touchdown catch with 5.1 seconds remaining capped a one-minute, 80-yard drive and gave the fourth-seeded Warriors the Class 4A state football championship with a wild 57-54 victory over No. 3 Robertson on Saturday.
“It was a like a do-or-die moment,” Dorame said. “This was it. I just had a feeling that I was going to come out with the catch. It feels so amazing that it actually happened.”
The pinpoint pass was right on his hands, and all he had to do was come down with it.
“Brennam Stewart made an amazing pass,” Dorame said. “He knew what I was doing. We were on the same page and he threw an awesome pass.”
The play kind of went off script, said Ruidoso coach Kief Johnson.
“We called a trips play. Brennam is such a good runner when we get him rolled out,” he said. “When we get him out on the perimeter, we either run it or we call a comeback to the pylon over there. It didn’t develop, but Gabe Dorame does a fantastic job of finding a hole and finding a way to get open.”
The game was one filled with big plays. Cardinals quarterback Arjay Ortiz delivered one moments earlier, completing a 47-yard pass on fourth-and-20 to set up the go-ahead touchdown.
But the score came too quickly.
“We knew we could march down the field and that’s what we did,” said Stewart, who exhorted his teammates before the final drive. “I just told them, ‘We’re going to win this game. Whatever it took, we were going to win this game.’ ”
After a couple of short completions, he delivered a key 33-yard run that moved the ball to the 20.
“Nothing over the top of us,” Robertson coach Leroy Gonzalez said of the defensive plan for the final drive. “We gave up big plays over the top, so nothing over the top. The big play was the run by the quarterback.”
The Warriors (10-3) were confident throughout the drive, Johnson said.
“They gave us too much time on the clock, so we were happy about that,” he said.
Stewart finished with 205 passing yards and three touchdowns. Dorame threw a halfback pass for a 98-yard score to Layson Powell, who had two scores and 189 receiving yards. Isaiah Otero was Ruidoso’s workhorse, rushing for 176 yards and four touchdowns.
Ortiz ran for 158 yards and two long touchdowns and threw for 307 yards and four more scores for Robertson (11-2), which lost in the state final for the third straight season.
“These guys played as hard as they could, and that’s all the coaching staff can ask for,” Gonzalez said. “It’s all we can ask for. I can’t think about what I would have done different. If I did that, I wouldn’t be able to sleep.”
Saturday — Las Vegas, N.M.
No. 4 RUIDOSO 57, No. 3 ROBERTSON 54
Ruidoso 14 7 22 14 —57
Robertson 7 21 19 7 — 54
Scoring: Ru, Isaiah Otero 1 run (Jesus Segura kick blocked); Ro, Antonio Padilla 2 pass from Arjay Ortiz (Jerry Chavez kick); Ru, Layson Powell 55 pass from Brennam(CQ) Stewart (Gabriel Dorame pass from Stewart); Ro, Richard Armijo 35 pass from Ortiz (Chavez kick failed); Ro, Padilla 34 pass from Ortiz (Ortiz run); Ru, Grady Woodul 8 pass from Stewart (Segura kick); Ro, Ortiz 1 run (Chavez kick); Ro, Oritz, 34 run (Chavez kick); Ru, Powell 98 pass from Gabriel Dorame (Segura kick); Ro, Emiliano Berged recovered fumble in endzone (Ortiz run failed); Ru, Otero 1 run (Segura kick); Ru, Otero 32 run (Stewart run); Ro, Ortiz 77 run (Chavez kick); Ru, Otero 9 run (Segura kick); Jacob Gamel 18 pass from Ortiz (Chavez kick); Ru, Dorame 5 pass from Stewart (Segura kick). Rec.: Ru 10-3; Rob 11-2.
Rushing: Ru 36-264; Ro 40- 254. Passing: Ru 15-18-304-1; Ro 13-21-307-0. Total offense: Ru 568; Ro 561. First downs: Ru 21; Ro 22. Penalties: Ru 9-85; Ro 10-78. Punts: Ru 1-53; Ro 1- -9. Fumbles-lost: Ru 0-0; Ro 1-2.