By Matthew Asher
TEXICO — The 2015 football season came to an end on Friday for the Tucumcari Rattlers.
Meantime, Texico lives to play another day after posting a 34-7 win in the first round of the Class 3A playoffs.
Tucumcari (3-7), the ninth seed in the 12-team field, led 7-0 at halftime on a 41-yard run by junior running back Zach Martinez in the opening period, but the tide turned after the intermission.
“That first period we just didn’t have a lot of fire defensively,” Texico coach Ryan Autrey said. “We had a hard time moving the ball and they (Rattlers) did a great job defensively to take away the things we planned offensively.”
In the third quarter, though, Texico (4-7) took complete control with 28 points , scoring on each of its possessions in the period. Junior running back Mason Golden had touchdown runs of 27, 17 and 6 yards and finished with 110 yards on 13 carries to lead the Wolverines.
“They turned up the intensity and we didn’t match it,” Tucumcari coach Wayne Ferguson said.
The Rattlers simply couldn’t get anything going in the second half. Martinez and senior running back Daniel Lopez, both over 50 yards rushing in the first two periods, combined for just six carries totaling 24 yards.
The longest play of the second half for Tucumcari was an 11-yard run by Lopez. On their three possessions inside Wolverines territory, the Rattlers turned the ball over on downs twice and lost a fumble.
The fumble, which happened at 9:54 in the fourth quarter, resulted in sophomore Saul Ramos getting injured. The good news is that while the EMT’s came on to the field with the stretcher, Ramos was able to walk off under his own power.
Texico advances to the quarterfinals where it will face top-seeded Estancia (10-1) at 7 p.m. next Friday.
“We had an all right season,” Ferguson said. “It’s a disappointing end but we hope to improve when we start next season.”