By Dave Wagner
ROSWELL — The first serious hint that the Portales Rams were in trouble Friday night occurred on the first play from scrimmage — a 57-yard touchdown pass from Roswell High quarterback Zane Klemo to Aaron Farmer.
While the Rams competed pretty well most of the way, they never really recovered from that blow and absorbed a 25-0 loss to the Coyotes at the Wool Bowl in the teams’ final tuneup before the start of district play.
Klemo, a junior who had missed the Coyotes’ previous four contests with a shoulder injury, apparently made a big difference as Roswell (2-5) won for just the third time in the last three seasons.
“I’m glad for the kids that we won the ballgame,” first-year Coyotes coach Barey Chambers said. “Zane did a good job coming back after a month’s layoff. But we still have a lot of things that we need to do right.”
Portales (3-4), losing its fourth in a row, played without senior quarterback Tyler Rutherford (separated shoulder). Senior Chris Carter filled in and rushed for 164 yards on 27 carries, but he couldn’t get the Rams into the end zone.
PHS fell behind 12-0 in the first six minutes, then stopped the Coyotes on downs at the Portales 3 after a 16-play drive and held its own from there until the final quarter, when Roswell added its final two scores.
Klemo completed 11-of-16 passes for 218 yards. He also threw a 19-yard scoring strike to sophomore Larry Purcell early in the fourth quarter, and Purcell added a 6-yard TD run with just over six minutes left.
Roswell’s other TD came on a 1-yard run by sophomore Stefon Doram, capping a 58-yard march on its second possession of the night.
The Rams appeared poised to make a game of it in the second half, mounting a 10-play drive following the kickoff which ended on downs at the Roswell 3 and then gaining possession twice more in Coyotes territory in the third quarter only to come up empty.
Carter and his receivers struggled to get on the same page, and four of the Rams’ final five possessions ended in interceptions. Portales finished the night with 282 total yards.
“We moved the football up and down the field, but to win games you’ve got to put it in the end zone,” PHS coach Glenn Johnson said. “Defensively, you’ve got to tackle; it comes down to the fundamentals.
“We have to go back and evaluate where we are. Going into district play, there are things we have to improve on.”
Purcell led the Coyotes in rushing with 56 yards on nine carries, while Farmer caught six passes — mostly short outs — for 107 yards.
“That first play was a big lift for us,” Chambers said. “I think it really helped our confidence.
“Their (Rams) quarterback was hurt, and I can sympathize with that. But (Carter) came out and played a good ballgame; he’s tough to stop.”
In District 4-3A, the Rams face New Mexico Military and Ruidoso at Blackwater Draw on the next two Fridays before ending the regular season Nov. 5 at Lovington. The district teams currently hold down the top four spots in the Associated Press’ Class 3A poll.
“It’s all got to come together in a hurry,” Johnson said. “It’s been a long, hard road the last four (games). But now is when it counts.”
Roswell High 25, Portales 0
Portales 0 0 0 0 — 0
Roswell High 12 0 0 13 — 25
R — Aaron Farmer 57-yard pass from Zane Klemo (kick failed), 11:41
R — Stefon Doram 1-yard run (run failed), 6:12
R — Larry Purcell 19-yard pass from Klemo (pass failed), 9:31
R — Purcell 6-yard run (James Aho kick), 6:52
First downs 13 13
Rushes-yards 36-218 38-155
Passing yards 64 218
Total yards 282 373
Comp-att-int 9-26-4 11-17-0
Punting 3-33.7 3-31.7
Fumbles-lost 0-0 2-1
Penalties-yards 3-24 11-117
RUSHING — Portales, Chris Carter 27-164, Eric Segovia 6-44, Richard Cage 2-10, Cruz Ontiveros 1-0. Roswell High, Purcell 9-56, Andrew Barreras 9-50, Anthony Urban 1-25, Josh Williams 7-22, Klemo 4-8, Doram 7-7, Kyle Harris 1-minus 13.
PASSING — Portales, Carter 10-27-4-64. Roswell High, Klemo 11-16-0-218, Williams 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING — Portales, Mario Salazar 5-32, Eli Escalante 1-14, Hunter Rackler 1-12, Bradley West 1-9, Segovia 1-minus 3. Roswell High, Farmer 6-107, Amos Smith 2-45, Purcell 2-37, Donny Irizarry 1-29.