By Mickey Winfield: Freedom New Mexico
The Robertson Cardinals erased a two-touchdown Portales lead and beat the Rams 20-15 Friday night at Greyhound Stadium.
Robertson quarterback Adrian Martinez threw two first-half touchdown passes to receiver Chris Ellis, followed by a third-quarter connection from Jake Martinez to Jesse Estrada to complete the comeback.
“We just didn’t do our job,” Portales head coach Andy Correll said. “We had mental breakdowns, and that happens.”
The Rams jumped out on top early in the first quarter, as senior quarterback Chris Mosier led them on a 15-play, 76-yard drive capped by a 26-yard touchdown pass from Mosier to running back Ricky Lovato.
Portales added to its lead with a successful two-point conversion — a screen pass to Brandon Adkins to give the Rams an 8-0 first quarter lead.
Portales held the Robertson offense without a first down on the Cardinals’ first possession, and the Ram offense went back to work.
Mosier led Portales to another productive drive and scored on a run up the middle on fourth-and-goal from the 3-yard-line to give the Rams a 15-0 first quarter lead.
“Our execution was good,” Correll said. “We came out on fire, and that’s exactly what we preached all week. We’ve got to start like we’ve been finishing, and the guys did that in the first quarter.”
“(In the) first quarter, we didn’t have any mental breakdowns,” Mosier said. “Everything was just clicking our way.”
The Cardinals, who beat Portales 28-6 in last year’s state-title game, began their comeback with the second play of the second quarter as Adrian Martinez launched a 47-yard touchdown pass to Ellis to bring Robertson to within eight points.
Nearly five minutes later, Ellis was Adrian Martinez’ target again, to bring the Cardinals to within two points. Jake Martinez closed out the comeback with the third-quarter score.
“(In the) second half, we had a lot of mental breakdowns because a lot of us are going both ways,” Mosier said. “We just had too many mental breakdowns.”
Friday night’s game was the third meeting for the two teams in about a year, including the season opener last season and December’s state-championship contest.
“We’ve got a long way to go still,” Correll said. “We’re going to get better. I know that they’re going to get better. We’ve got to fix the mental aspects. It’s a dogfight, and I very well expect us to meet again.”
“This is a good game to start off with,” Mosier said. “It shows how good we really are and that we can hang with the No. 1 team in the state.”