The Santa Rosa Lions scored 29 unanswered points in the second half to defeat the Tucumcari Rattlers 36-21 Friday night. The Santa Rosa victory ended Tucumcari’s playoff hopes.
The Rattlers went into the locker room at halftime up 21-7. Momentum was clearly in Tucumcari’s favor as running back Eric Holt ran for 119 yards in the first half and scored two touchdowns. Holt did not return to action in the second half. Earlier in the week he had been questionable for the game due to a lingering injury. The Rattlers could have used another big rushing effort from Holt in the second half, but it was not to be. Momentum swung to the Lions’ side midway through the third quarter. The Rattlers had the ball at midfield and went for it on fourth down. The Rattlers failed to convert and Santa Rosa drove down the field for a score and a two-point conversion to take the lead for good at 22-21.
D.J. Martinez and Nathan McDonald had big gains for the Rattlers throughout the second half, but the Lion defenders kept the Rattlers away from the end zone.
Tucumcari’s last real chance for victory came with four minutes left in the game. Down 29-21, the Rattlers faced fourth down and 20. Santa Rosa intercepted and several plays later scored another touchdown to ice the victory.
Injuries to key players were all too common during the Rattlers’ 2004 season. Talented players like Nick Wiegel and Michael Baca were not suited up to help propel the Rattlers through district play.
Quarterback Chris McCasland missed the second half against district rival Clayton. At the end of the first half against Santa Rosa, it looked like Eric Holt was going to have the game of his life and Tucumcari was going to cruise to victory against the heavily-favored Lions. Once again fate was not kind to the Rattlers as their all-state back watched from the sidelines as the second half began.
The Rattlers won five games in the 2004 season. They were always at their best when executing Head Coach Dub Smith’s ball control offense.
The Rattlers executed the ball control offense masterfully in the first half at Santa Rosa. Although D.J. Martinez and Nathan McDonald ran the ball well against the Lions, carrying for 42 yards and 52 yard respectively, the ball control offense did not click without Holt.
The Rattlers will have a group of experienced linemen and D.J. Martinez will be an experienced sophomore running back next season which should bode well for Coach Smith’s style of play.
The Rattlers should have their share of all-state selections later this year.
Tcum 0 21 0 0 = 21
SRosa 7 0 15 14 = 36
Scoring by quarter
1:16 SRosa 11-yrd. run (kick good)
11:10 E. Holt 1-yrd. run (Badshah kick), 5:23 E. Holt 2-yrd. run (Badshah kick), 0:23 N. McDonald 1-yrd. run (Badshah kick)
9:00 SRosa 10-yrd. run (run good), 3:12 Srosa 11-yrd. run (kick good)
11:37 SRosa 1-yrd. run (kick good), 2:24 SRosa 16-yrd. run (kick good)
Tucumcari: E. Holt 19- 118 yrds., D.J. Martinez 10-42 yrds., N. McDonald 10-52 yrds., M. Salas 2-3 yrds.. 219 total yrds.
Tucumcari: C. McCasland 60 yrds.