Piedra Vista senior rushed for 120 yards and two scores in Friday's win over Farmington
FARMINGTON — As a junior nose guard, Scott Ramirez was called on by Piedra Vista football coach Jared Howell to play running back in a pinch.
A year later, the senior is a fixture in the position, part of a one-two punch with Elijah Gamboa that motors the offense of the 5-2 Panthers.
“He wasn’t playing any offense really, but we needed a (running) back,” Howell recalled. “His brother (Jose Ramirez) was actually a running back for us at the time, and a good one. When his brother was unable to play, Scott took over and looked great. We found a gem.”
After showing what he could do in relief of his half-brother, Scott Ramirez didn’t look back.
On Friday, the senior rushed for 120 yards and two touchdowns. His performance was one of the main reasons PV bested crosstown rival Farmington 38-20.
Ramirez said that during the game he simply took advantage of a Farmington defense that devoted a lot of attention to stopping Gamboa.
“They were keying on Gamboa and all his runs up the middle,” he said. “So the coaching staff wanted me to start bouncing it outside to see if that would work. And I was able to pick up some big gains that way.”
Both of Ramirez’s touchdowns were short plows near the goal line. Coach Howell said it was Ramirez’s long runs between the 20-yard lines that really made an impact on the game.
“He broke off some big 10- and 20-yard runs when we were in the middle of the field,” Howell said. “He broke several tackles and evaded some defenders. (Farmington) was just having a hard time getting him stopped. Then you got Gamboa going in the other direction, and that’s a tough job for any defense.”
Ramirez and Gamboa aren’t the prototypical running back tandem.
Both athletes stand less than 6 feet tall and weigh about 165 pounds. Neither player is noticeably faster or stronger than the other, but they still compliment each other well.
“They make each other better because the defense is having to track down and locate two run threats at the same time,” Howell said. “You can’t overload and overplay one side of the ball more than the other because they’ll hurt you.”
Howell isn’t surprised by the results Ramirez is seeing. The 15-year PV head coach said Ramirez’s passion for the game has always been evident.
“I don’t know if there’s anybody on the football team that loves football more than him,” Howell said. “He’s the guy that when he was a freshman, sophomore, and probably even right now, would try to play some pickup football during lunch.”
Ramirez isn’t just a one-trick pony, either. He’s one of the most reliable linebackers on the team.
“He just has a great nose for the ball as a defender,” Howell said. “He sniffs the ball out and is just lightning quick.”
As good as Ramirez has become on offense, he said he actually may enjoy playing linebacker more.
“I just feel like it comes to me easier,” Ramirez said of the defensive side of the ball. “Plus, I’m the one doing the hitting when I’m on defense.”
Middle linebacker is the position Ramirez always envisioned he’d play in high school. But when he played nose guard as a sophomore and a junior and was asked by coaches to start handling carries, he didn’t think twice.
“I got put in that spot 'cause the team needed it, so I just jumped to do it,” Ramirez said. “It’s a team effort, and I try to be team-first.”
Thanks to Ramirez’s contributions on both sides of the ball, PV looks primed to make a deep playoff run.
The Panthers have yet to lose a game at home, and their only losses have come at the hands of Durango, Colo., (6-0) and Roswell (4-3).
Ramirez's team-first mentality is indicative of PV's mindset this year.
“It’s a brotherhood,” he said. “We’re close this year. We had a bunch of kids come back this year, and we’re excited. We just want to win.”
Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.
A closer look: Scott Ramirez
1. Favorite team?
2. Favorite athlete?
3. Favorite food?
4. Favorite movie?
"Friday Night Lights."
5. Favorite subject in school?
6. Least favorite subject?
7. Biggest fear?
"Letting my teammates down."
8. Do you play any other sports?
"No, just football."
9. What is the first thing you would do with $1 million?
"Buy the team some new uniforms."
10. Do you have any pregame rituals?
"We always pray before our game day meal."