By Thomas Garcia: Quay County Sun
The Tucumcari Rattlers will advance next week to the quarterfinals of the 2A playoffs after Friday’s victory over Dulce.
The Tucumcari Rattlers grounded the Dulce Hawks, scoring all of their points in the first half of a 49-0 blowout over the Hawks.
Coach Dub Smith said, “You don’t ever want to overlook a team especially in the playoffs. I am really proud of these young men because they didn’t take this game lightly. We look forward to playing Capitan next Friday and will come back Monday and start preparing for them.”
The Rattlers came out strong in the first half making all seven of their touchdowns within the 24-minute limit. The Rattlers scored four times in the first quarter, twice by Senior Brian Lopez, and once each by juniors Andre DeBord and D.J. Martinez.
Lopez started the Rattlers off with a 3-yard run early during their first possession. The Hawks answered back with an impressive 67-yard run back to the Rattlers 5 yard line. But the Rattlers defense held and forced two fumbles, which Dulce did recover. The Hawks turned the ball over on downs on the Rattlers 24.
Senior Josh Villegas said, “I didn’t want them to score. We hit them hard the on the first down and we could tell that affected them every down thereafter.”
Villegas recovered one of the Hawks’ seven fumbles for the Rattlers.
The Rattlers struck three more times during the second quarter. There was a second touchdown rush by Martinez and two touchdowns by junior Ryan Fought in the closing minutes of the half. Fought rushed for 30 yards, breaking several tackles to push his way in for the touchdown.
Fought said, “I was running as hard as I could. I followed my blockers. Butt when I got ahead of them and saw the defensive players circling me, I just kept pumping my legs hoping to get in for the score.”
After the game, senior Drew White said, “Even though we got ahead in the game, we couldn’t afford to feel to sorry for them. This is the playoffs. It’s do or die, win or go home.”
The Rattlers next game is Friday against the third-seeded Capitan Tigers at Capitan.