RUIDOSO – One week after a fantastic victory at Hope Christian, the Ruidoso Warrior football team is gearing up for another big District 4-4A showdown.
This time, it’s against Portales. And this time, it’s at home.
Kickoff is at 7 p.m. tonight at W.D. Horton Stadium.
Ruidoso is 5-3, 2-0 in district after escaping Milne Stadium in Albuquerque last Saturday with a 53-46 victory over a Husky team that wouldn’t quit.
After spotting Hope Christian a 10-0 lead to start the game, it was the Warriors who came back and continued to withstand big Husky plays.
“That’s not always an easy thing to come back from,” said Ruidoso linebacker Ezra Anderson. “But we were confident we could beat them at any point in the game.”
“There’s no quit in this team, they fight all the way to the end and they did a great job,” said Ruidoso coach Kief Johnson. “It was a combination of a lot of guys doing good things for us.”
A 96-yard Husky kickoff return here, a Robert Roller pick six for the Warriors there, and Ruidoso led Hope 42-32 at the end of the third quarter.
Things really got dicey near the end when Alex Bates was flagged for arguing a pass interference non-call, then ejected for arguing another official’s decision.
That means he won’t be on the field against Portales.
“There’s certain things we can control and certain things we can’t,” Johnson said. “We felt there should have been a pass interference call, but you can only say certain things to the referee and get away with it.
“Alex never cussed or said anything inappropriate, he was just highly upset about getting hit with a cheap shot,” he added. “But we’ll get through it. We have a lot of kids that will step up. These things happen.”
After a 29-yard field goal by Jose Enriquez for a 45-39 Warrior lead with 3:26 left, Vince Quezada put Hope Christian back in the lead with a 75-yard run with 2:30 left.
While it seemed Ruidoso wouldn’t get a chance to come back – they faced a 3rd and long with 1:38 left – Isaiah Otero came up with an 80-yard ramble for the game’s final score.
Still, there was more than a minute left, and the Huskies (3-5, 0-2) had shown they don’t need that much time to come back and score.
But it didn’t matter, as Anderson came up with an interception with 20 seconds left to seal the victory.
“Otero’s touchdown gave us a lot of fire and motivation,” Anderson said. “I actually lost track of my guy, but broke on the ball in the right place and it fell right into my hands.”
After that narrow victory, Portales (6-1) promises to be just as thorny an opponent tonight.
“They’ve got a good quarterback and good running back back there,” Johnson said, referring to Rams Junior Ramirez and Darion Ontiveros. “We’ve got to keep those two guys contained, but they will throw the ball down the field.
“I’m not worried about how our offensive line will do. We’ve had great success with our quarterbacks Brennam Stewart and Otero,” he added. “We just have to get a hat on hat, and those guys can make things happen.”