Rattlers to take on defending state champions

Rattlers running back Daniel Lopez looks downfield at his blockers as he runs the football back for a 77-yard touchdown punt return Friday night against the Wolverines at Rattler Stadium. Tucumcari beat the Wolverines 35-26. The Rattlers’ next game is Friday in Estancia.

Rattlers running back Daniel Lopez looks downfield at his blockers as he runs the football back for a 77-yard touchdown punt return Friday night against the Wolverines at Rattler Stadium. Tucumcari beat the Wolverines 35-26. The Rattlers’ next game is Friday in Estancia.

By Thomas Garcia
QCS Senior Writer

A road game can be tough on a team, even more so for the Tucumcari Rattlers when the team they are visiting is the defending 3A state champion Estancia Bears.

“Estancia started out the season by beating Lovington, 32-27, an impressive start for a team coming off a championship season,” said Ratters head coach Wayne Ferguson.

The Bears beat Navajo Prep 54-20 on Friday in Lovington to improve to 2-0.

Ferguson said the Rattlers are expecting a physical game from a team that still has many starters returning from its championship season. He said he told the team they need to come out with the same intensity they had during Friday night’s 35-26 win at home over Texico.

“Its still early in the season and there is always room for improvement,” Ferguson said. “We say a lot of positives come out of offense and defense, but there are still some areas that need to be fine tuned.”

The Rattlers defense managed to keep the Wolverines rushing game below 200 yards, an accomplishment considering Texico rushed for 400 yards against Santa Rosa a week earlier.

“We have to keep playing with heart and have each other’s back out on the field,” said defensive tackle Antonio Norton, Jr., who had three individual sacks on the quarterback against Texico and had several assists on tackles in the backfield.

“It wasn’t just me out there; my teammates were right there with me every step of the way,” Norton said.

On offense, the Rattlers, won the battle of the trenches against the Wolverines. Running back Daniel Lopez rushed for three touchdowns and had one punt return for a touchdown.

“The offensive line did an outstanding job,” Lopez said. “I would not have had such a productive night if not for them.”

Ferguson said the Rattler backfield is one of the fastest they have had in several years. He said Lopez, Billy Sandoval and Zach Martinez do a great job of moving the ball.

Rattler quarterback Tyler Ferguson was five for seven passing, for 76 yards and had one touchdown, a 58-yard pass to Zedric Henderson Greene.

Game time: 7 p.m., Friday at Estancia.

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The Logan Longhorns, 0-1, are trying to work the bugs out of their system as they prepare for their second game of the season Friday night against Dora/Elida at Logan.

The Longhorns’ first game on Aug. 28 against Tatum was canceled because of lightning, keeping the Longhorns off the field until Friday night, when they lost 52-12 to Gateway Christian.

“They basically outplayed us,” said Kene Terry, Longhorns head coach.

Terry said it was a rough opening week but that is largely in part because the Warriors had one game up on them. He said the Longhorns were a bit sluggish and a combination of nerves and miscues hurt them early on in the game.

Terry said the Longhorns did not come tackle well on defense and overall, the team played slower than the Warriors. He said these issues will work themselves out as the team progresses through the season.

Terry said the Longhorns will have their work cut out for them facing off Friday against the Coyotes. He said Dora/Elida likes to spread the ball and use a lot of motion in the backfield. The Longhorns, he said, will need to stay focused on defense.

Terry said the Longhorns will need to keep their eyes on a pair of opposing linebackers during the game. He said they have speed and size and if left unchecked they can cause trouble for the Longhorns.

Game time: 7 p.m., Friday at Logan.

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The Grady/San Jon Coyotes will look for their third win of the season as they travel to Reserve on Friday to take on the 1-1 Mountaineers.

The Coyotes won 62-34 over Hondo Valley on Friday night, defeating the team that ended their 2014 state championship run in the semi-finals.

In week one, the Coyotes routed Vaughn 54-0.

Game time: 1 p.m., Friday at Reserve

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