The Clayton Yellowjackets had a big second half to defeat the Tucumcari Rattlers 38-19 at Rattler Stadium Friday night.
Rattler quarterback Chris McCasland went down in the first half with an apparent rib injury and did not return to the field for the second half. Rattler Head Coach Dub Smith did not mention the loss of McCasland in his talk to his team after the game. He simply told his players they did not play a good football game. “We didn’t play like we are capable of playing,” said Smith. “We had three turnovers in the first half. Our district is a tough district and we can’t afford to make mistakes in district play.”
The Tucumcari Coach said backup quarterback Matt Smith played reasonably well in McCasland’s absence, passing for 91 yards. Still, the Rattler turnover woes continued as the game wore on. Tucumcari was down 11-7 at the end of the first half, but the Rattler players and coaches came out of the locker room for the second half looking a little glum knowing that their starting quarterback would not be playing.
The Yellowjackets drove down the field for a touchdown on their first possession of the second half. Tucumcari responded with a well-engineered drive of their own as Smith completed a long pass to Matt Braziel and Eric Holt ran it in from six yards out.
Tucumcari was down 18-13, but Clayton scored twice before the Rattlers could score again on a 30-yard touchdown pass from Smith to Eric Holt.
Clayton scored again on a interception that went for a 47-yard touchdown and the game was out of reach for Tucumcari. Defensively, Adrian Jones intercepted twice for the Rattlers and the defensive line made many big stops for losses during the game. Drew White and Brian Lopez were mentioned frequently over the public address system for solo tackles.
As Coach Smith left the field after the disappointing loss, he mentioned that injuries have beset his team this season.
“The injury to Chris (McCasland) really did hurt us tonight,” said Smith. “It’s just one of those things. That’s football. The guys just have to come back next week and prepare everyday for Santa Rosa. We absolutely must beat Santa Rosa to make the playoffs.” As if the Rattlers did not already have enough to overcome, Smith said all-state running back Eric Holt is questionable for next Friday’s game at Santa Rosa. Holt will have a lingering injury diagnosed next week.
Smith said he did not know if McCasland will be able to return to action next week.
Tcum 0 7 6 6 19
Clyt 0 11 25 13 38
Scoring by quarter
S. Taylor 51-yard pass from E. Holt 9:27 (Badshah kick)
Clayton 1-yrd. run (run good)
Clayton 34-yrd. field goal 0:05
Clayton 1-yrd. run (kick good)
E. Holt 6-yrd. run (run failed)
Clayton 9-yrd. run (kick good)
Clayton 38-yrd. run (kick failed)
E. Holt 30-yrd. pass from M. Smith (pass failed)
Clayton 47-yrd. interception (kick good)
Tcum: E. Holt 18-88, D. Martinez 4-19, N. McDonald 2-31, C. McCasland 7-41, 185 total yrds.
Clyt: 233 total yrds.
Tcum: M. Smith 6-22 91 yrds. C. McCasland 1-2 13 yrds. Eric Holt 1-2 51 yrds.
Clyt: 63 total yrds.