By Thomas Garcia: Quay County Sun
The 2A Tucumcari Rattlers are set to face the 4A Espanola Valley Sundevils.
The Rattlers had a rocky start to the season with a 40-7 loss to the 3A St. Michael’s Horseman Saturday.
“We made some mistakes against St. Mike’s but we are already working on fixing those mistakes,” said Rattlers coach Dub Smith. “We watched the film of the St. Mike’s game on Monday and went over what we needed to work on with the players.”
Despite the loss, the Rattlers are moving forward, said Smith. The team is now concentrating on their next challenge of Espanola, said Smith. Espanola’s coach has done an outstanding job with the team, said Smith. Winning against Espanola would be a giant step forward in the season for the Rattlers, said Smith.
“Espanola has a great quarterback with four receivers with good speed that they can use to make plays on offense,” said Smith. “They like to run spread formations with those receivers and we know it is going to be a challenge for us but we are looking forward to it.”
The Rattlers had a tough schedule like this last year but still did well going into the playoffs and beat one the state’s best teams last year which was Capitan, said Smith.
“We are working on getting better week-by-week,” said Smith. “All these games are helping us prepare for district play and the playoffs so we hope that our Rattler fans don’t get discouraged.”
Espanola coach Manny Medina saw the Rattlers play against the Horsemen on Saturday and is preparing for a good and tough game with the Rattlers. The Rattlers get off the ball well and have some defensive and offensive schemes that are hard to adjust to, said Medina.
“The Rattlers had a few mistakes (Saturday), like dropping the ball, but we know that they will be working on correcting those mistakes and will be ready to play come Friday,” said Medina. “We have a lot of respect for coach Smith and the Rattlers. We know that each week they are working at getting better just like we do and they are one of the toughest 2A football teams in the state.”
The Sundevils won their season opener against the Shiprock Chieftains 59-28.
Despite having two of their starters out, including quarterback Daniel Martinez and wide reviver Horacio Garcia, the Sundevils still had strong offensive presence.
“Daniel and Horacio were both injured in a pre-season game,” said Medina. “Both players could have played on Friday but we did not want to rush their recovery.”
Sundevils backup quarterback junior Rob Cutter threw for 499 yards and had 7 touchdowns, senior running back Rodney Martinez had 197 all-purpose-yards with two touchdown receptions and one rushing touchdown, senior receiver Nathan Romero had a touchdown reception and junior Derek Vigil had two touchdown receptions.
“It was Rob’s first start against Shiprock and he did well and we might put him in to take some snaps against Tucumcari,” said Medina. “One thing that makes our offense so difficult to defend is our small but speedy receivers.”
l The Rattlers will play against the Sundevils at 7 p.m., Friday at Espanola.
Two Quay County teams set to meet in 6-man football action.
l The San Jon Coyotes (1-1) play their third game against the House Cowboys (0-0). It will be the season opener for House.
“We have not seen any film of House so that will be a challenge for us,” said San Jon’s coach Waymond Ragland.
San Jon Coyotes vs House Cowboys at 4 p.m. Friday at House.
l The Logan Longhorns (1-0) will play at 11 a.m. Saturday against the Mountainair Mustangs at Mountainair.
l The Tucumcari Lady Rattlers (0-1) will play 4:30 p.m., Thursday at Elida.
l The San Jon Lady Coyotes (0-2) will play at 5 p.m., Thursday against the Roy Longhorns at Roy.
l The Logan Longhorns (0-1) next game is 4 p.m., Saturday against the Tucumcari Rattlers at Logan.
l The House Cowgirls next game is at 5 p.m., Tuesday against the Elida Tigers at Elida.