By Thomas Garcia
QCS Senior Writer
The Tucumcari Rattlers football team drew the ninth seed and will compete against the eighth-seed Texico Wolverines in the first round of the 3A state tournament Friday at Texico.
The Rattlers won their final game of the season 36-26 Friday night against district opponent Raton Tigers at Rattler Stadium.
The Wolverines are going to be a different team than the Rattlers faced during the Sept. 4, 35-26 win over Texico in Tucumcari, said Wayne Ferguson, Rattlers head coach.
Ferguson said the Wolverines have switched to a more power-oriented offense and like to spread the field. He said the Rattlers will have to adjust to the Wolverines’ new system.
Ferguson said the Rattlers’ offense will need to control the line of scrimmage and take care of the football.
During Friday’s win over Raton, the Rattlers’ offense only had two turnovers, a failed fourth-down conversion and one interception. The Tigers had three: a fumble, failed fourth-down conversion and an interception.
The Rattlers had a strong rushing performance with a total of 334-yards, four rushing touchdowns split by running backs Zach Martinez and Kyle Lopez and a 1-yard quarterback sneak by Tyler Ferguson the first score of the game.
Ferguson would have had a second touchdown with a 27-yard scramble to the end zone, but it was called back because of an illegal block in the third quarter.
“We have to play smarter,” Tyler Ferguson said. “We cannot make costly mistakes that wipe out a scoring play.”
The Rattlers’ defense had a big night pressuring the Tigers’ offense and holding the Tigers scoreless in the first and third quarters.
Martinez intercepted Tigers quarterback Justin Segura deep in Tigers’ territory midway through the final period, setting up a short offensive drive that was capped off with a 2-yard touchdown run by Lopez.
“I just ran my coverage assignment and watch the quarterback,” Martinez said. “Once he let it go I knew I had the interception.”
Game time: 7 p.m., Friday at Texico.
The fourth-seeded Logan Longhorns will play the top-ranked Melrose Buffaloes in the 8-man state football semifinals Saturday at Logan.
Both the Longhorns and the Buffaloes advanced to the semifinals by beating their opponents by the 50-point mercy rule in the quarterfinals.
The last time these teams met the Buffaloes upended the Longhorns 52-0 on Sept. 18 at Melrose. It was only the third game of the season for the Longhorns after their opening game against Tatum was canceled due because of weather.
The Longhorns finished their regular season with a 7-2 record and a District 2 championship. The Buffaloes finished 12-0, winning the District 4 championship.
Game time: 7 p.m., Saturday at Logan.