The Tucumcari Rattlers, seeded eighth in Class 2A, will travel to Eunice Friday to take on the top-seeded Eunice Cardinals.
The Rattlers may be upset-minded, but they are trying to treat the 7 p.m. contest like any other game.
“We are not going to treat the Cardinals any different,” Tucumcari coach Wayne Ferguson said. “We need to limit our mistakes. We need to get out on that field and play the game the way we know how.”
The teams have played each other four times in the last two seasons, but seasoned Tucumcari fans remember Eunice as the team that defeated Tucumcari in the 2000 state title game with a field goal on an untimed down; following the game, Tucumcari contended Eunice should have never received the untimed down following a Rattler penalty.
“It has always been a big matchup when these two teams meet,” said Cardinals head coach Daniel Hutchins, Ferguson’s predecessor at Tucumcari. “We expect a good game Friday night when the Rattlers come to town.”
Hutchins expects to Rattlers to have a strong running game and good defense.
“They have always been a strong and physical team,” Hutchins said. “The teams always match up well with each other.”
Ferguson said the Rattlers are going to prepare for the Cardinals the same as they would for any other team. But he noted that in the previous two matchups against Eunice, the Rattlers had four red-zone opportunities where they came up empty.
“We need to come away from those situations with points, not turnovers,” Ferguson said.
Ferguson said the Rattlers will also work on containing Cardinals quarterback Tyler Almanger.