The Rattlers took their show on the road for the first time this season and dominated the second half in a 40-20 victory against Class 3A Raton.
Tucumcari (4-0) siezed control with 10:51 remaining in the game when senior linebacker Joe Sisneros picked off a pass and rumbled 21-yards for a touchdown. The extra point gave the Rattlers a 30-20 lead that they would never relinquish.
Junior safety Matt Braziel intercepted a pass 38-seconds later that led to sophomore Eric Holt’s touchdown with 7:11 left in the game. Cornerback Andy Lau would make another interception and senior A.J. Molinas would add a field goal late in the game.
The Rattlers outscored the Tigers 20-0 in the second half.
Junior quarterback Chris McCasland rolled his ankle in Thursday’s practice. With the ankle still tender he started the game but the injury forced him to exit after the second offensive series. He played sparingly on defense throughout the remainder of the game.
Sophomore replacement Josh Benavidez stepped in and rushed 10 times for 44-yards and one touchdown. He was also 2 for 6 passing for 30-yards including a 25-yard strike to junior Nick Wiegel.
The Rattlers started slow and fell behind 6-0 on a Jacob Trujillo touchdown midway through the first quarter. Tucumcari would not strike back until senior Rob McClelland broke free on a counter play with 1:34 remaining in the quarter.
Both teams traded touchdowns in the second quarter. Trujillo scored again and Benevidez answered on an option keeper for his first varsity touchdown. The Tigers responded almost immediately with a 70-yard touchdown pass to Nathan Trujillo on the first play after the kickoff. A fake field goal pass pushed the score to 20-14. Wiegal’s touchdown reception and a missed extra point knotted the two teams at 20 before halftime.
The Rattlers finished the game with 266 rushing yards on 56 carries. Rattler quarterbacks were 3 for 12 passing for 53 yards. The Tigers rushed for 78-yards and completed 9 passes for 188-yards. The Rattlers totaled 319-yard to the Tiger’s 266-yards.
The Rattlers will stay on the road next week and meet the New Mexico Militari Institute, another Class 3A team.