By Thomas Garcia: Quay County Sun
The Rattlers were caught off pace by the speed the Horsemen.
The Rattlers lost to St. Michael’s of Santa Fe Friday night 41-14 in the season opener for both teams.
Despite two interceptions and fumble recoveries, Tucumcari’s 2A Rattlers could not keep up with the pace of the 3A Horsemen.
“St. Michael’s is a good team,” Tucumcari coach Dub Smith said. “We knew this coming into the game. We were real green in some key areas but we will learn from this and will practice and get better every week.”
The Rattlers’ first possession went for two offensive series which lead to a punt on the fourth down. St. Mike’s would pass on their first possession and score a touchdown.
Late in the first quarter, senior Ken Mercer would sack St. Mike’s quarterback making it second and twenty. Daniel Kampfer would make a stop on the third down of the same series forcing a fourth down. St. Mike’s, however, converted on the fourth down for a touchdown and an extra point making the lead 12-0.
In the closing seconds of the first quarter, an interception and run back by Andre DeBord put the Rattlers on the board at 12-7.
The second quarter was rough for the Rattlers even with a second interception from Daniel Kampfer. Despite the turnover, St. Mike’s would strike twice to make the score 28-7 going into half-time.
The Rattlers would retake the field after the half trying to rally against St. Mike’s. But found themselves further behind as St. Mike’s extended their lead 34-7. In the late half of the third quarter a deep punt and tackle by Brian Lopez placed the Rattlers on the 2 yard line and a quick run by junior D.J. Martinez would give the Rattlers 14.
By the fourth quarter the Rattlers were trailing 41-14. Joshua Bollard picked up a fumble late in the game and combined with two rushes from Martinez and Lopez put the Rattlers within field goal range with only four seconds left in the game. But the kick would be short.
St. Mike’s coach Joey Fernandez said the game was a battle even with the lopsided score.
“We’ve scrimmaged Tucumcari for four years and they have always played physical,” Fernandez said. “They played good tonight and we enjoyed playing them.”
“We’re not happy with a loss,” Martinez said, “But this is a learning experience and we’ll play harder and get better from it.”
The Rattlers’ next game will be at home Friday against Capital in a 7 p.m. tilt.
“We’ve got to learn from our mistakes and come in on Monday and watch some film and practice to get better,” Bollard said. “Our underclassmen really stepped up tonight.”