Rattlers get first test

By Ryan Lengerich

Estancia came up short in their first week against Laguna, but don’t look for this week to be anything like the Rattlers first two.

Tucumcari (2-0) battles Estancia (0-1) at 7 p.m. Friday night at Rattler Stadium in their third straight home game of the 2003 season.

The Rattlers have not been scored on this season after pummeling Menaul and Questa 54-0 an 47-0 respectively. Estancia, however, slipped last week in a 21-12 loss to Laguna.

Senior Tucumcari lineman A.J. Molinas said it would have been better to be challenged in the first two weeks, but expects this week to be different.

“It should be a ball game this week and keep people on the edge of their seat,” he said. “They had a bad game last week so they’re going to be wanting to come out and show everybody what they’ve got.”

The Rattlers ended Estancia’s 2002 season 28-27 in the State semi-finals on the way to a state championship. Estancia did not score on a two-point conversion that would have won the game late in the fourth quarter.

With an off-season coaching change, first year head coach Mike Draper, who had been Moriarty head coach for eight seasons, said he is not looking for revenge.

“We’re just looking for improvement,” he said.

Estancia is led by senior running back Tim Moya and three other returning seniors Brian Crider, Leo Sierra and Brian Alarid. Draper said his team will utilize two quarterbacks this weekend against the Rattlers with junior Kyle Berkshire and Lorenzo Garley. Estancia has 42 players on the roster but Draper said most of his depth is young.

Tucumcari ran over their first two opponents gaining 410 rushing yards against Menaul and 159 rushing yards for the starters against Questa.

“Our line is the best that we have had in four years,” senior lineman Tony Rodriguez said.

Molinas and Rodriguez expect a larger crowd this week. Defensive coordinator Wayne Ferguson said Estancia may have overlooked Laguna last week, but doesn’t expect the same this week.

“I don’t care what happen last Friday night,” Ferguson said. “It’s going to be a good game.”