Tucumcari dominated the line of scrimmage on Saturday and the Rattlers are headed for the state-championship football game for the second time in four years.
The Rattlers rolled up 330 rushing yards, limited Lordsburg to 29 yards on the ground, and upended the Mavericks, 19-6, on Saturday at Rattler Stadium.
Tucumcari will play Hatch Valley for the Class 2A state title at 2 p.m. on Saturday in Hatch.
Hatch Valley is the two-time defending state champion. Tucumcari won the title in 2002.
Hatch, which is located northwest of Las Cruces, beat Santa Rosa 32-0 in its Saturday semifinal.
Tucumcari never trailed in running its season record to 11-1.
“I think the bottom line is we controlled the line of scrimmage,” Rattlers Coach Dub Smith said. “I’ve said all along that football games are won on the line of scrimmage. Our special teams were really good today, too. When you do all of those things, you come out most of the time with a win.”
All-state running back Eric Holt returned to the Tucumcari offense Saturday after missing most of the last several games with an ankle injury. He rushed for 123 yards on 21 carries and put Tucumcari ahead 6-0 in the first quarter with an 18-yard run.
Backfield mate D.J. Martinez added 101 yards on 17 carries, including a 14-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter.
Kicker Anas Badshah had a pair of second-quarter field goals before suffering a knee injury in the second half. Freshman Rich Encinias kicked Tucumcari’s final point-after touchdown to complete the team’s scoring.
Brendon Huerta’s 22-yard fourth-quarter run accounted for Lordsburg’s only score.
“We played a good football team, but our young men were prepared to play football today,” Smith said.
Tucumcari averaged more than 5 yards per carry, relying on its offensive line to lead its attack. Defensively, the Rattlers held Lordsburg to 1.6 yards per carry.
Both teams lost a fumble and both were plagued by penalties – 133 yards for Lordsburg and 135 for the Rattlers.
Tucumcari 19, Lordsburg 6
Lordsburg 0 0 0 6 – 6
Tucumcari 6 6 0 7 – 19
T — Eric Holt 18 run (kick failed)
T – Anas Badshah 29 FG
T – Badshah 24 FG
T — D.J. Martinez 14 run (Rich Encinias kick)
L — Brendon Huerta 22 run (kick failed)
First downs 11 21
Rushes-yards 18-29 58-330
Passing yards 157 53
Total yards 186 383
Comp-att-int 10-25-1 2-8-1
Penalties-yards 12-133 14-135
Fumbles-lost 2-1 4-1