All things considered, Ricky Henderson’s evaluation of the preceding 48 minutes sounded accurate.
“It was just like in the movies,” he said. “That type of game.”
Henderson scored a pair of touchdowns for Valley in the final 5½ minutes Saturday afternoon, and the Vikings held off visiting Portales 48-47 in a wildly entertaining game at Milne Stadium.
The Rams scored with 1:35 remaining, a 25-yard touchdown pass to Andru Ontiveros, to get within a point. With several members of his banged-up defense out of the game, Portales coach Jaime Ramirez didn’t want to risk an overtime period and opted to go for 2 points and the lead.
Quarterback Paxton Culpepper appeared to slip to the ground on the try at around the 5-yard line. Valley (4-2) recovered an ensuing onside kick and ran out the clock.
“The football gods saw it was Valley’s homecoming, and they gave us a good one,” Vikings first-year head coach Billy Cobos said.
The loss by Portales (6-1), Class 4A’s second-ranked team, leaves just six undefeated 11-man teams: Cibola and Hobbs in 6A, Bloomfield in 4A, Socorro and St. Michael’s in 3A, and Class 2A’s Jal.
There were five lead changes as Portales and Valley sustained a fever pitch from the start.
Portales had the first score, but Valley, with three touchdowns in excess of 50 yards in a span of 9 minutes — two of them TD passes from QB Julian Butkivich — rallied to lead 21-6.
In a stunning sequence, Portales registered TDs on offense, special teams (blocked punt) and defense (pick-6) — all within a span of 2 minutes, 37 seconds — to go in front 28-21. Valley forced a turnover and scored late in the second quarter to tie the game 28-all at halftime.
Early in the second half, Butkivich threw a 22-yard TD pass to Marquelle Jackson for a 36-28 lead. Portales scored the next 13 points and led 41-36 with 9:09 remaining.
Henderson’s 9-yard TD run with 5:23 to go put the Vikings ahead 42-41, and he added a 20-yard score barely two minutes later.
“We just got into our favorite run formation and put it to them,” Cobos said. “And I think they got gassed there at the end.”
VALLEY 48, PORTALES 47
Portales 6 22 6 13 — 47
Valley 14 14 8 12 — 48
Scoring: P, Emmanuel Diahn 4 run (kick blocked); V, Ezekiel Ramos 64 pass from Julian Butkivich (kick blocked); V, Charles Lopez-Burton 56 pass from Butkivich (Caeden Jojola run); V, Jojola 53 run (Gabriel Gangwere kick); P, Diahn 2 run (Paxton Culpepper pass to Tommy Lopez); P, Layton Faust recovered blocked punt in end zone (Everardo Dominguez kick); P, Zane Mayberry 65 interception return (Dominguez kick); V, Marquelle Jackson 28 pass from Butkivich (Gangwere kick); V, Jackson 22 pass from Butkivich (Jojola run); P, Kaidyn Cordova 5 run (pass failed); P, Andru Ontiveros 14 pass from Devin Diaz (Dominguez kick); V, Ricky Henderson 9 run (run failed); V, Henderson 20 run (kick failed); P, Ontiveros 25 pass from Culpepper (run failed). Records: V 4-2; P 6-1.
First downs: P 17; V 19. Rushes-yards: P 31-125; V 43-191. Passing: P 13-24-1—203; V 15-29-1—249. Total offense: P 328; V 440. Punts-avg.: P 3-33.7; V 2-36.5. Fumbles-lost: P 2-1; V 5-1. Penalties-yards: P 6-52; V 9-112.
ALBUQUERQUE ACADEMY 24, ST. PIUS 13: At the Academy, the Chargers (5-2) spotted the Sartans (1-5) the first 13 points as St. Pius QB Alejandro Sapien threw a pair of first-half TD passes, but rallied in the second half for a win.
In the fourth quarter, trailing 13-10, Academy QB A.J. Rivera threw a 3-yard TD pass to Aidan Burdge with 9:02 remaining, and the Chargers added the clincher with 1:12 to go as Landen Martinez scored on a 5-yard run.
HOPE CHRISTIAN 29, N.M. MILITARY INSTITUTE 28 (OT): At Nusenda Community Stadium, Cade Johnston scored on the Huskies’ first play of overtime, and Brent Miller added the walkoff 2-point run as Hope Christian (3-3-1) came from behind to beat the Colts (4-3) in a District 4-3A opener. NMMI had scored first in the OT and kicked the PAT.
HIGHLAND 22, MANZANO 6: At Wilson Stadium, the Hornets scored 16 points in the fourth quarter to break a 6-6 tie and defeat the Monarchs (0-6). Alex Lopez threw a 56-yard TD pass to Jakarri Edwards for the Hornets (4-1) to take the lead, and Highland’s other QB, Isai Herrera, added a 21-yard scoring toss to Eliab Lopez.