Friday night turned into a great opportunity for the Texico Wolverines and the Tucumcari Rattlers to learn from in-game mistakes. The problem for the host Rattlers was that Texico made less of them.
The visiting Wolverines stayed perfect in District 5-2A, jumping out to a 14-0 lead and riding big plays in the second half for a 28-7 victory over the Rattlers.
“We knew they were going to be a tough team,” Rattlers head coach Wayne Ferguson said of the Wolverines (7-1, 2-0), who can wrap up the district championship with a win next week at Clayton.
The Rattlers, however, will host the Lions, who are fresh off a 47-0 win over the Yellowjackets at Santa Rosa.
“We need to come in and handle business next week,” Ferguson said.
The Rattlers’ sole scoring drive, ended by Luke Smiths’ 2-yard quarterback sneak, covered 82 yards. But 45 of them came from Texico penalties.
“Two of those penalties were mental mistakes,” said Wolverines head coach Ryan Autrey. “The last one was a player covering tight on defense trying to make a play on the ball, but (he) got there a little early. I can live with that penalty.”
Texico capitalized on Rattler mistakes as well, turning a first-quarter fumble into a scoring drive with Rallin Harris’ 11-yard pass to Jesus Rivera.
“It comes down to eliminating those mistakes,” Ferguson said. “We turned the ball over due to mental mistakes. This is week nine; there is not that much time to (correct) that.”
Shay Harrison also added an 11-yard rushing touchdown in the first.
Tucumcari (6-3, 1-1) kept it 14-7 going into the half with Jackie Fang’s late sack of Harris, but gave up long touchdown runs of 70 yards to Harrison and 75 yards to Donovan Johnson in the second half.
“At times our defense was spot on,” Fang said. “Other times we were out of alignment and that allowed them to make big plays.”
Fang said the team knows it needs to step it up with Santa Rosa coming to town in a week.
“We are going to work hard and get ready for them,” Fang said. “We are going to do all we can to stop them on the field.”