By Ryan Lengerich
Questa’s Justin Martinez thought he had the angle. But as he lunged to make the tackle on Tucumcari junior Chris McCasland, the Rattlers star delivered a devastating stiff arm sending Martinez to sideline turf.
McCasland cruised into the endzone for his second punt return touchdown of the half. Still stomach first on the grass, Martinez shook his head and smiled at the Rattlers sideline.
“That guy is pretty good,” he said as he pushed off the ground.
The Rattlers (2-0) scored four special teams touchdowns in a 47-0 thrashing against lowly Questa (0-2). Friday was the second consecutive shoutout for the Rattlers who handled Menaul 54-0 in the opener. The Wildcats were bounced 42-12 in their opener against Clayton.
A scary moment occured with 4:53 remaining in the first half and the Rattlers leading 33-0. On a pass play over the middle a Tucumcari lineman laid a hit on a Questa player. The injured Questa player laid motionless on the grass for about 20 minutes while paramedics strapped him to a stretcher. He was taken directly to Trigg Hospital, no details could be given about the players identity or status.
“That was a bad deal,” Rattlers secondary coach John Span said. “Anytime you see someone go down like that, man, it’s scary.”
Tucumcari and Questa players took a knee as the injured player was attended to. After the game Questa players kneeled near the ten yard line and prayed.
While the game was played under the cloud of the Questa player’s injury, Tucumcari dominate the overmatched team on the ground. Rattler starters ran for 159-yards on 11 attempts. Junior Michael Baca rushed for his second touchdown this season while junior Eric Holt notched his 3rd and 4th.
McCasland was 1 for 5 passing for 5 yards. He said when he can feel himself getting jittery as he stands in the passing pocket.
“I want to work on my throwing,” he said. “I really need to settle down.”
Special teams doomed the Wildcats. McCasland returned a first quarter Questa punt into a 30-yard touchdown on a reverse play. He backed that up with fake-reverse return for a 48-yard touchdown return in the second quarter when he delivered the forearm shiver to Martinez.
Holt returned the second half kickoff 80-yards for a score and junior Nick Wiegal completed the night with a 26-yard punt block return for the nights final score.
“We got to keep our heads up,” Wiegal aid. “Next week is going to be like our first game.”
Tucumcari takes on Estancia Aug. 12, at Rattler Stadium.