The Tucumcari High School football team improved to 4-0 on the season with a 40-13 win over the Raton Tigers at Rattler Stadium Friday night. Rattler Coach Dub Smith said his team’s defense was a key to victory.
“Our defense gave our offense great field position all night,” said Smith. “Our kids played a great defensive ball game.”
Coach Wayne Ferguson said the defense was superb.
“It was the defense’s best game of the season,” said Ferguson.
Brian Lopez, Josh Villegas, Drew White, Justin Garcia and Steven Taylor each had tackles and often caused the Raton quarterback to hurry his passes which went for incompletions.
Jonathan Reno returned to action at linebacker and had several solo tackles.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Rattler linemen, Taylor, Garcia, White, Lopez, Villegas and Ken Mercer opened up big holes all night.
“We knew we had to do a good job of blocking,” said Coach Smith. “Our linemen stepped up. Also, our fullback Michael Baca got a lot of small gains inside that opened up our outside running game.”
Baca scored the game’s first touchdown midway through the first quarter on a 13-yard run in which he spun off a would-be tackler on the way to the end zone.
Tucumcari’s next touchdown did not come until midway through the second quarter when Eric Holt scooted in for a 8-yard touchdown. The Rattlers were ahead 12-0, but were not in full control as in previous games.
Finally in the waning seconds of the first half, Steven Taylor fell on a Raton fumble in the end zone to put the Rattlers up 18-0.
“That fumble recovery for a touchdown gave us much needed momentum,” said Coach Smith.
The Rattlers opened up on the Tigers in the second half. Raton fumbled the ball on the opening kickoff. On the Rattlers second play from scrimmage, Eric Holt shot up the middle and took off on a 45-yard touchdown run.
Momentum was solidly in Tucumcari’s corner the rest of the game. John Sewell recovered a fumble and Adrian Jones intercepted and recovered a fumble. Matt Braziel intercepted a pass for the second game in a row.
The only real downside to the Tucumcari victory was when a mini-brawl broke out on the field. Two players from each team were ejected from the game.
Two Rattler starters, Drew White and Josh Villegas, two of the biggest linemen on the team, were ejected and will also miss next week’s homecoming against NMMI.
“Our backup linemen will step up next week,” said Coach Smith. “Because of their pride they will step up. When we ask our players to step up, they do what we ask.”
Tcum 12 6 14 8 40
Ratn 0 0 7 6 13
Scoring by Quarter
M. Baca 13 yrd. run 7:40 (kick failed).
E.Holt 8 yrd. run 8:20 (run failed)
S. Taylor fumble recovery (run failed)
E. Holt 45 yrd. run (A. Badshah kick)
E. Holt 3 yrd. run (A. Badshah kick)
Raton TD 2:20 (kick good)
E. Holt 4 yrd. run (Holt run)
Raton TD 0:00 (no kick)
Tucumcari: Holt 21-151 yrds., Baca 14-47 yrds., D.J. Martinez 6-35 yrds., J. Reno 2-4 yrds. Total: 231 yrds.
Raton: 108 total yrds.
Tucumcari: McCasland 2-10 19 yrds 0 Int. Total: 19 yrds.
Raton: 42 total yrds.