Turnovers finally caught up to the previously undefeated Tucumcari Rattlers in a 26-14 loss Friday to the visiting Eunice Cardinals.
"We have been working to eliminate turnovers," said Wayne Ferguson, Rattlers head coach.
Ferguson said turnovers cost them the game, one of the major issues they had been working to correct.
The final score of the game was a 50-yard fumble returned by Cardinals' Armondo Rodriquez.
The Rattlers (5-1) were driving with 13 second left in the game trailing 20-14 when quarterback Luke Smith fumbled trying to put the Rattlers in position for a comeback.
"We have to put this behind us and prepare for district," Smith said. "We can't forget this loss though. We need to remember it to make sure we never feel this way again."
The Rattlers had done a good job of taking care of the ball until late in the third period and were leading 14-6.
The Rattlers scored in the second quarter 16-yard pass Smith to Dillon Wood.
The Cardinals (3-3) answered with a 10-yard pass from quarterback Eric Leyva to Dylan Frank.
Smith's 37-yard pass Smith to Mark Preciado in the third quarter made it 14-6.
The Cardinals got life late in the third when they recovered a fumble leading to a 13-yard touchdown run by quarterback Eric Leyva. They took the lead with a fumble recovery returned 70 yards by Greg Mitchell
"This win gives us a lot to build on," said Caleb Aldrige, Cardinals head Coach
Aldrige said the team has some mistakes to fix, though Friday night's performance shows his team can play in a tight game and has what it takes to win the game.
Total yards :222
Eric Levya: 92 yards
Alex Galaviz: 88 yards
Dylan Frank: -1 yard
Total yards: 189
Jeffrey Cordova: 43 yards
Zach Hurd: 33 yards
Dillon Woods 19 yards
Saul Moriel: 2 yards
Luke Smith: 1 yard