By Thomas Garcia
The Tucumcari Rattlers lost their regular season finale 42-7 Friday against district rival Santa Rosa.
The Lions literally ran away with the game, gaining more than 300 yards of offense and scoring five of their six touchdowns on the ground. Jesus Roybal led the way, with five touchdowns and 245 yards rushing.
The Lions started the game off with a 76-yard kickoff return from Lions senior wide receiver Jake Meairs for a touchdown. On the Lions’ next possession senior running back Jesus Roybal broke free for a 60-yard touchdown run on 2 and 10. Roybal would have three more rushing touchdowns in the first half.
“We played inconsistent football tonight and got beat by a great team,” said Rattler coach Dub Smith. “At times we looked good on offense and defense but we did not play four quarters of consistent football. At this level of competition you have to be focused and ready to play.”
The Lions had scored 13 unanswered points before the Rattlers would score with a 21-yard pass from senior quarterback Andrez Apodaca to senior wide receiver Michael Fazekas.
“We have to focus on next week’s game and not let this loss dwell on us, no matter what the score was,” said Fazekas. “We need to come back on Monday and start practicing and prepare for our next match up.”
With four minutes left in the first half the Rattlers were moving down field and were in position to score. But a Rattler pass from Apodaca to Lucas Benavidez was intercepted in the end zone by Lions junior Jeff Reeves. The Lions ran their no-huddle offense to perfection, and with 29 seconds left on the clock Roybal ran for his fourth touchdown and a 35-7 Lions lead.
The Lions would score only once more, a 17-yard touchdown run by Roybal late in the third quarter, but they kept the ball on the ground to kill the clock.
Tucumcari now waits on tonight’s playoff seeding meeting in Albuquerque.