Rattlers in must-win game in Santa Rosa

William Thompson

The Tucumcari Rattlers must beat the Santa Rosa Lions Friday night in order to have a shot at the playoffs. Santa Rosa is 6-1. Tucumcari is 5-3.
The two teams have played one common opponent, Texico. Texico beat Santa Rosa by one touchdown. The Rattlers had a little more trouble with Texico.
Rattler Coach Dub Smith said he does not worry about scores from past games.
“In 2002, Santa Rosa beat us 40-21 in the regular season, but we beat them later to win the championship,” said Smith. “Prior games don’t really matter. To us, this Friday’s game against Santa Rosa is a championship game. Our season is not over.”
Coach Smith said Rattler quarterback Chris McCasland will be a little sore but he will play against the Lions. Running back Eric Holt is still questionable for the game.
Tucumcari will need all the help it can get against Santa Rosa. Coach Smith said Santa Rosa runs an old-fashioned offense.
“They run a single wing offense that was popular in the 1940’s and 1950’s said Smith. “They are really good at running it.”
Coach Smith said that although he is aware that injuries have beset his team this season, he said it is still up to reserve players to step up.
“We tell all our players that they have to believe they can win. A lot of the game of football is mental,” he said. “Our coaches do a good job of preparation. Right now, all we want to do is win this ballgame.”
Coach Smith said the Rattlers and their fans should not feel cheated by the number of injuries to the team this season.
“Sometimes a team has a rash of injuries and sometimes they don’t,” said Smith. “That’s part of the game of football.”
Even with this season’s ups and down, Coach Smith said his players are approaching the Santa Rosa game with the idea of winning.
“How could you not be motivated for the Santa Rosa game,” he said.