By Thomas Garcia: Quay County Sun
Santa Rosa overpowered the Rattlers 43-6 to claim the District 2-2A title.
Rattler coach Dub Smith said, “Santa Rosa is a very fine team. They go into the first round undefeated. We played hard during the first half but we made some mistakes, fumbled twice. With a team like Santa Rosa it will cost you the game.”
The Lions were in control throughout the game. The Lions scored first with a field goal in the first quarter, then struck twice in the second quarter with rushing touchdowns by fullback Cele Lopez.
Early in the third quarter, Rattlers quarterback Matt Smith was sacked on 3rd and 22 forcing a punt. Following the punt, Lopez rushed for his third touchdown increasing the lead 24-0.
The Rattlers fullback, Brian Lopez, rushed in the following series for 52 yards to put the Rattlers at 1st and goal.
“When I was running toward the end zone,” Lopez said, “all I could think about was pushing my way in.”
Smith scored two plays later on a keeper, but Anas Badshah’s conversion kick was blocked.
The Lions answered back with a kickoff return for a touchdown, extending the Lions lead to 30-6. Tucumcari’s last play of the third quarter resulted in an intercepted pass setting up another touchdown for the Lions.
Tucumcari had only two possessions in the final quarter. The Lions would strike once more late in the fourth to cap the scoring.
Being district runnerup gives Tucumcari a playoff berth, but they have to wait for Saturday’s Class 2A playoff field to be set.
“We will have to wait and see how we are seeded,” Brian Lopez said. “It would be nice to be seeded in the top seven and have a home game, but we will just have to see.”
Assistant coach and Tucumcari High Athletic Director Wayne Ferguson said he will be in Albuquerque and will notify Smith as soon as the pairings are released.
The pairings will be available at www.nmact.org.