Four Rattlers named all-stars

By William Thompson

Four Tucumcari High School football players were recently named to the Class 1A/2A North All-Star Team. The all-star team is open only to graduating seniors. Players were selected by high school coaches.
Chris McCasland was selected as a free safety, Justin Garcia as a center, Matt Braziel as a defensive back and Steven Taylor as linebacker.
Rattler Coach Dub Smith said the all-star game will be played June 11 in Silver City.
“It’s a very competitive game,” Smith said. “These kids will work hard all that week.”
Smith said the Rattlers did not have any players selected to the all-star game when he first came to Tucumcari in 1998. But they’ve averaged four a year since then.
“Their selection to the team reflects on our program, our school and our community,” he said.
McCasland said he looks forward to mixing it up.
“I know a lot of guys who will be playing on the two teams, especially the guys from the Texico area,” he said. “I think I was selected for the north team because I had a lot of interceptions at free safety and I’m pretty fast back there.”
Justin Garcia, a bulky but quick offensive lineman, said making the team was a personal goal the past couple of years.
“I knew it was only open to seniors, and I had been kind of dreaming that I would get to play in this game.”
Steven Taylor said he must have had what it takes to play linebacker.
“I made good hits and big plays and I hustled,” Taylor said. “I’ve been trying to make this team. It will be very important to me because it will be my last high school game.”
Matt Braziel said his selection is a goal come true.
“I was always hoping to be able to make this team,” he said. “I guess I was chosen because I was pretty good at reading the quarterback from my defensive back position.”
The north squad will be facing a south squad that has players from class 2A state champs Hatch.