RUIDOSO – How is it a high school football team can gain 439 yards and still lose by 16 points?
The other team gains 785 yards.
That’s what happened, Oct. 13, at W.D. Horton Stadium, as Friday the 13th turned out to be very unlucky for Hope Christian in a 55-39 loss.
“This was a great ball game and we had a lot of fun with it,” said Ruidoso coach Kief Johnson. “Our kids fought to the bitter end too. Our offensive line did a great job.”
Isaiah Otero was a workhorse for Ruidoso (6-2, 2-0 District 4-4A), racking up 357 yards on 30 carries on the night, including a tie-breaking 75-yard touchdown ramble in the third quarter.
“I knew I just had to hit the hole and follow my big man Macai (Garcia) off the edge,” said Otero, who had . “Then I just had to run like they can’t tackle me.”
Quarterback Brennam Stewart also had a good night running, with 149 yards and a 31-yard touchdown.
For a while, it looked as though Ruidoso was going to cruise to a fairly easy victory, taking a 19-3 lead after an 18-yard pass from Brennam Stewart to Gabriel
Dorame with 3:08 left in the first quarter.
But Hope (2-5, 0-2) is a team you can never take your eye off of. Husky Vince Quezada – who had already put his team on the board with a 29-yard field goal – ran the ball in from one yard out.
After a 2-point conversion, Hope Christian was down by eight points heading into halftime, and the Huskies tied it with 9:44 left in the third at 19-all after a 35-yard strike to Lucas Martinez.
“This is a good football team, they held Portales to 16 points last week,” Johnson said. “We both put more points up against each other tonight, so I guess our defense wasn’t all that.”
Hope continued to pick apart the Ruidoso secondary with long strikes and scores throughout the second half, but the Warrior offense was just a little more potent.
After Otero scored his 75-yarder to break the tie for good, the Warrior defense came up with a safety on a bad punt snap by the Huskies.
The Warriors scored two more times before Hope was able to score again, with Jake Henry in at quarterback.
In fact, the Huskies were more effective with Henry throwing, and one of his favorite targets was Quezada, who caught six passes for 142 yards and the final touchdown of the night.
“The defense did their best, they just missed a few little things,” Stewart said. “But the offense took care of it. We did what we needed to do to win the game.”
Ruidoso’s scores were bookended by touchdown passes to sophomore Layson Powell.
“There wasn’t a safety up top, and they were in man defense. Coach just told me to beat them, and that’s what I tried to do,” Powell said. “Brennam threw a great ball, so it was just easy.”
Ruidoso remains unbeaten in district, but they have a huge test coming up in Portales next week.
“One game at a time, and this is the best team we’re playing,” Johnson said. “They’re a good ball team, and we’ve got to get after it when we play them there.”
Notes: Without Quezada, Hope Christian pretty much didn’t have a team. As mentioned before, he started at quarterback, kicked a field goal and ended with 142 receiving yards to lead the team. He also led the Huskies with 89 rushing yards and his kicks regularly went into the endzone for a touchback.