The Tucumcari Rattlers started the season Friday night with a 35-13 victory over the Raton Tigers at Rattler Stadium.
The Rattlers did most of their damage on the ground, rushing 34 times for 275 yards and three touchdowns.
Leading the way was Jeffery Cordova with 109 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries. Zach Hurd added 95 yards on seven carries and a touchdown and Dillon Woods rushed 13 times for 65 yards.
Cordova and Luke Smith returned interceptions for scores.
Over all the Rattlers, defense had three interceptions and forced the Tigers to turn the ball over on downs three times.
“We have a lot of our guys that are playing both ways; not quite in shape yet, but we are going to work on that,” Rattlers coach Wayne Ferguson said.
Ferguson said having only three returning starters led to mistakes on the field. He said the team is going to have to work on disciplining themselves to limit mistakes, which results in a loss of yardage or kills a drive.
The Tigers scores were on passing plays, both in the third quarter; a 34-yard pass from quarterback Toby Henson to wide receiver Mark Hightree and 5-yard pass from Henson to wide receiver Luiz Ruiz.
“We are a young team more, so in the sense of inexperience versus age,” Tigers coach Brock Walton said.
Walton said they are going to have to work on limiting penalties, which in three offensive series took the Tigers out of the red zone and into long yardage situations. He said the players who have stepped up from junior varsity are still getting used to the pace of the game and that may cause them to hold in situations.