QCS Senior Writer
The Tucumcari Rattlers overcame a slow first half and capitalized on second-half errors to run away with a 26-14 victory over the (0-2) New Mexico Military Institute’s Colts Friday night at Rattler Stadium. The Rattlers are now 1-1.
“These boys showed character by the way they kept playing,” said Wayne Ferguson, Rattlers head coach of the Rattlers. “We made some mistakes—it’s expected with our youth–though they played with heart and never gave up.”
An 11-yard rushing touchdown by Rattlers fullback Saul Moriel (extra point no good) was the only score for the first half of the game.
The Rattlers came alive in the second half, scoring three more rushing touchdowns; they had six different ball carriers throughout the game for a combined 37 rushes for 249 yards.
Errors had kept the Colts out of scoring range in the first half; twice the center snapped the ball high, forcing the Colts into third-and-long situations around mid-field.
The Colts came out of the gates running in the second half, however, marching down the field 67 yards in seven plays, capped by a 2-yard touchdown rush by Blade Allen (ep, Jose Lira).
The Rattlers offense answered two minutes later with a 57-yard offensive drive of their own, capped by a 4-yard touchdown by Moriel (two-point conversion Michael Olivas), who had broken through the defense in the previous play for 32 yards and set up the score.
The Colts continued their plague of errors as a failed attempt to convert on a fourth-and-one set the Rattlers up for their third score, a 1-yard rush by Daniel Lopez (ep no good).
The Colts were quick to answer with their second and final score, an 11-yard rush by Lira (ep Kristian Otero).
On the ensuing kickoff, the Colts tried an onside kick that failed to produce a game-changing fumble and gave the Rattlers the ball just inside their own territory.
It only took the Rattlers two plays on the following series to score and seal the victory, a 55-yard run by Lopez and seven-yard touchdown rush by Nathan Vargas.
“You would have thought we had juniors and sophomores on the field,” said Randy Montoya, Colts head coach. “The Rattlers made fewer mistakes than we did tonight and we put ourselves out of position to win this game.”
Montoya said he has several seniors on his team and could not account for the mistakes that were made during the game. He said it was frustrating knowing the team is better than how they played.
Rattler rushing stats:
37 carries for 249 yards and four touchdowns
Saul Moriel 11-86, 2 td; Daniel Lopez 11 -126, 1 td; Nathan Vargas 5 -14, 1 td; Zach Martinez 2 – 13; Michael Olivas 7 – 31; Timmy Skinner 1-1.