By Ryan Lengerich
Under the guide of two second year coaches, the Tucumcari Middle School football team finished their season undeafeated.
Head coach Ed Encinias and assistant coach Brian Dunlap guided the team to a perfect 7-0 season.
“I imagine this team will stand out for a lot of years to come,” Dunlap said.
TMS was led by running back D.J. Martinez, a player Encinias called an “outstanding running back.” The coaches agree that Martinez, an eighth grader, has a chance to see playing time at the varsity level next year. Dunlap said Martinez reminds him of current sophomore Rattlers running back Eric Holt, who received significant playing time toward the end of his freshman year.
The team was quarterbacked by the head coach’s son, seventh grader Rich Encinias.
“With his dad coaching him, Rich came in knowing the system,” Dunlap said.
On defense, TMS was led by David Atwood. The coaches said Atwood is similar current Rattlers defensive end Nick Wiegel.
“He will bring it to you on defense,” Ensinias said.
Andre DeBord, Joe Kintona and Daniel Godfrey were also defensive leaders, Ensinias said.
Dunlap said that success at the middle school level often translates to success at the varsity level. He said the students grades are well above average. He also said the help of the varsity and junior varsity team coaches has been invaluable.
“Other coaches are very supportive,” Dunlap said. “Our kids are appreciate having them here.”