By Chris Schmaedeke, QCS managing editor
Tucumcari came up with a big play when it needed it to hold off Dexter 21-20 at Rattler Stadium Friday night.
Dexter senior quarterback Daniel Fuller scored a touchdown with 11 seconds left and the Demons (0-7) were an extra point away from tying the No. 8-ranked Rattlers (5-2). Dexter lined up for the extra point but holder Clayton Garnett pulled it down and tried to run for the two-point conversion.
Tucumcari defenders Lucas Benavidez and A.J. McElroy swarmed Garnett to preserve the one point lead for the Rattlers.
“I just wanted to stop him,” Benavidez said. “I just thought I got to stop this guy.”
“I was stressed out on the sideline,” said Tucumcari quarterback Alex Hutchins, who scored the winning touchdown with about four minutes left.
The extra point attempt was going to be a fake run, said Demons head coach Tim Fuller.
Fuller said the failed attempt was his fault for not relaying the play to his line in time. He said the plan was to run, but when the ball was snapped, Garnett realized the fake play had been called.
“I got the ball and went to set it down,” Garnett said. “When I realized that it was a fake, I tried to pick the ball up and it got away from me. “
Stopping the two-point conversion was just the beginning for the Rattlers. Dexter still had a chance with an onside kick. Tucumcari looked to recover but the referees spotted the ball wrong and the Demons got another shot at it.
Dexter recovered the onside kick at the 50 and had one moreshot at winning the game.
Quarterback Daniel Fuller’s pass to Nicholas Deutsch fell incomplete.
“That’s a lot of pressure to catch that ball,” Benavidez said.
The game started out strong for Tucumcari. Jakus Martinez returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown. It was the only score of the first half as Dexter controlled the clock for the rest of the first half.
“They had two possessions that took up the whole first half,” Rattlers coach Daniel Hutchins said. “In the second half we made a line shift and put in Lucas (Benavidez) at linebacker.”
Fuller said clock management was a large part of his coaching gameplan. He said the offense line did a great job of creating lanes for their runners.