QCS Senior Writer
Despite a 21-20 homecoming loss to the Texico Wolverines Friday night the Tucumcari Rattlers played with heart and had their best game so far this season, said Head Coach Wayne Ferguson.
“We grew up a lot on that field tonight,” Ferguson said.
Ferguson said the team still had some mistakes, like penalties that stopped the drives and red zone situations they couldn’t convert on, but overall he was pleased with how the team played.
The Rattlers (1-6, 0-1) trailed by 1 in the fourth after a failed extra point attempt following a 22-yard touch down run by Saul Moriel.
With a minute on the clock the Rattlers were facing a 4 and 3 and needing the conversion to keep their chances of winning alive.
Twice on previous series the Wolverines (4-4, 1-1) had extended the Rattlers drive with offside penalties. The Rattlers had 18 first downs in the game with Saul Moriel returning to rushing duties, accounting for 10 of the Rattlers first downs with 35 carries for 214 yards and two touchdowns.
Ferguson said having Moriel back changed the dynamics of their offense.
“We are a different team with him on and off the field,” Ferguson said.
“I told the guys to trust in what they had been taught and look for the keys,”said Ryan Autry, Wolverines head coach.
Autry said the Rattlers had shown their ability to convert the ball and he was asking his team to step up and stop their progress.
The Rattlers final push was unsuccessful and the ball was turned over on downs allowing the Wolverines to take a knee and run the clock out.
Autry said the team trusted in each other and trusted their instincts and played as they had been taught.
“My hats off to the Rattlers coach Ferguson had them well prepared,” Autry said. “We managed to scrape one away from them tonight.”
The Wolverines had moved ahead of the Rattlers late in the third quarter with a 87-yard-touchdown by quarterback Justin Rucker his second of the night. Though the Wolverines opted and scored the two-point conversion by Mitchell Pinnell in order to make up for a missed extra point in the second quarter.
The Wolverines third and final score was the first time they led in the game. The Rattlers scored twice in the first quarter a 69-yard rush by Daniel Lopez and a 1 yard-run by Moriel.
Ferguson said the team was hurt by the missed opportunities a missed field goal which could have secured the win in the second quarter and a missed extra point which could have led to a tie. He said they would not dwell on the missed chances but instead build on the progress the team showed tonight.
“This game showed we can compete in our district,” Ferguson said.
Texico 7 6 8 0
Tucumcari 14 0 0 6
1. (Tuc) 69-yard rush Daniel Lopez xp Marcus Chavez
2. (Tex) 35-yard rush Justin Rucker xp Rucker
3. (Tuc) 1-yard rush Saul Moriel xp Chavez
4. (Tex) 32-yard rush Rucker xp no good
5. (Tex) 87-yard rush Rucker two point Mitchell Pinnell
6. (Tuc) 22-yard rush Moriel xp no good