Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

Tularosa overwhelms Rattlers


October 23, 2019

A depleted Tucumcari team found itself overwhelmed 53-0 Friday night by a top-ranked Tularosa squad in a District 4 opener that was shortened in the third quarter by the mercy rule.

Tucumcari fell to 1-7 overall and hasn’t scored since a Sept. 20 overtime loss to Santa Rosa. The Rattlers committed three turnovers — including a fumble returned for a touchdown — and struggled to gain even a first down.

Tularosa, ranked No. 1 in Class 3A by MaxPreps.com, improved to 6-1 overall, with its only loss a 33-18 decision to Ruidoso.

Tucumcari coach Wayne Ferguson said his team’s struggles Friday were a combination of Tularosa’s stout defense and the Rattlers being shorthanded — notably running back Robbie Hartmann out with a severely sprained ankle and tackle Devin Apodaca sidelined with a broken hand.

“Tularosa kinda put eight men in a box,” he said. “Even when we tried to pass the ball, they would flood through and put a lot of pressure. We just weren’t good at either side of the ball.”

Ferguson noted a few bright spots, particularly early in the game when the Rattlers gained a first down and their defense made Tularosa work to move the ball. The Wildcats led just 6-0 midway with five minutes left in first quarter.

“Then all of a sudden, we started turning the ball over, stopped playing defense, and that opened the floodgates,” Ferguson said.

Tularosa scored on seven consecutive possessions and led 47-0 at halftime. Tucumcari didn’t move the ball past its 37-yard line in the first half, giving the Wildcats good field position on subsequent punts.

Tucumcari defenders made a successful goal line stand against the Wildcats early in the third quarter. But even that turned bittersweet when Tucumcari lost a fumble on its 1-yard line. It took Tularosa just two plays to score a touchdown and end the game.

Tucumcari hosts district foe Dexter at 7 p.m. Friday for Senior Night. Dexter (6-2), ranked sixth in Class 3A, gained a crucial 28-18 victory Friday over district opponent New Mexico Military Institute.

After that, Tucumcari travels to NMMI, ranked seventh in Class 3A. Ferguson said he’ll lose two starters for that game because they’ll be at a national FFA convention.

“It’s not a very good time to be depleted, as good as our district is,” Ferguson said. “It’s kind of a recipe for disaster.”


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