The New Mexico Military Institute football team scored two quick touchdowns to open the second half as they put away the Tucumcari Rattlers 58-36 at Tucumcari’s homecoming.
Rattler Coach Dub Smith remained optimistic about his team after the game. “Our kids did not quit,” said Smith. “We were a little overmatched tonight because we had some kids who were sick and injured. NMMI caught us at a bad time this year, but we will bounce back. We will be playing for the district championship.”
The Rattlers made it an interesting football game in the first half as they were down by nine with a minute left. Chris McCasland intercepted a pass in the end zone. With 46 seconds left in the half, McCasland, at quarterback, engineered a touchdown drive from his own 20-yard line.
McCasland went to the air with passes to Matt Braziel and Eric Holt. On third down Holt caught a pass and took it to the one-yard line. Holt ran it in for the score on the next play and the Rattlers were only down by two, 24-22 at the half.
Coach Smith mentioned both McCasland and Holt after the game. “Eric Holt had his usual outstanding ballgame,” said Smith, “and I thought Chris (McCasland) looked sharp on his passing at times.”
Holt finished with 154 yards rushing and 86 yards receiving.
The Colts took some life out of the Rattlers early in the second half. A Colt running back scored on a 50-yard touchdown run on NMMI’s first possession of the second half. To make matters worse, the Colts recovered their on-side kick and proceeded to drive the ball down for another touchdown with more than nine minutes still to go in the third quarter.
The Rattlers could not generate any offense in the third quarter, but did show some spark in the fourth quarter as Holt scored yet another touchdown and McCasland swept around right end on a nifty bootleg for a ten-yard touchdown.
NMMI had two big running backs that powered for big gains throughout the game. Often it took more than one Rattler to bring them down. Still, a number of Rattlers made big defensive stops at times. Nathan McDonald and Jonathan Reno made solo tackles for losses.
Rattler coach Gary Hittson did not have the homecoming he expected. “It hurts us to lose homecoming,” said Hittson. “The guys are down a little bit, but we are going to keep doing what we are doing. We will bounce back.”
Tcum 7 15 7 14 = 36
NMMI 10 14 20 14 = 58
Scoring by quarter
NMMI 23-yrd. field goal 6:17
NMMI 5-yrd. run 3:10 (kick good)
Eric Holt 7-yrd. run 1:18 (Badshah kick)
NMMI 6-yrd. run 11:20 (kick good)
Eric Holt 1-yrd. run 5:00 (McCasland run)
NMMI 60-yrd. kick return 4:50 (kick good)
Eric Holt 1 yrd. run 0:00 (Badshah kick)
NMMI 50 yrd. run 10:36 (kick good)
NMMI 9-yrd run (kick good)
NMMI 15-yrd. run 9:38 (kick good)
Eric Holt 13-yrd. run 5:55 (Holt run)
NMMI 50-yrd. run 5:42 (kick good)
Chris McCasland 10-yrd. run (run failed)
Tcum: E. Holt 22-154, M. Baca 10-41, D.J. Martinez 6-13, C. McCasland 8-46, Total: 254 yrds.
NMMI: 454 total rushing yards
Tcum: C. McCasland 6-14 114 yrds. 1 INT, Total: 114 yrds.
NMMI: 28 total yrds.