By Thomas Garcia
QCS Senior Writer
Tucumcari’s dream first half turned into a nightmare on the first possession of the second half Friday night.
Fumbles on each of the first two second-half possessions by the Rattlers gave Albuquerque Academy the momentum and, ultimately, the win, 39-22.
It was the home football opener for Tucumcari, which fell to 0-2.
“Our running backs have to hold on to the football, period,” said Wayne Ferguson, Rattlers head coach.
Tucumcari had a 22-7 lead at halftime and took the opening kickoff in the third quarter.
But the Rattlers’ first second-half drive stalled with a fumble near midfield.
The Chargers failed to take advantage of the miscue, but after punting, Tucumcari fumbled again.
That gave Academy possession inside Tucumcari’s 35-yard line and the tide was turned.
The Chargers scored 32 unanswered points in the second half, including 22 in the fourth quarter.
Chargers quarterback Clay Crosby rushed 4 yards to score the first of four second-half TDs for Academy.
Tucumcari was explosive in the first half.
Quarterback Zach Martinez tossed scoring passes of 93 and 55 yards to Zedric Henderson Greene after Academy took a 7-0 lead.
Martinez also scored on a quarterback sneak from a yard out.
But the Rattlers were unable to sustain a drive in the second half until the closing minutes.
That late offensive surge ended when Chargers linebacker Thomas Lujan picked off a pass in the end zone and returned it 101 yards for the game’s final score.
“Everyone has to be responsible for their position,” Ferguson said. “All 11 positions on the field have to know their responsibilities.”
Academy 39, Tucumcari 22
Albuquerque: 7 0 10 22
Tucumcari: 8 14 0 0
AA: 22-yard pass from Clay Crosby to Joe Greer, Greer kick good.
Tucumcari: 93-yard pass from Zach Martinez to Zedric Henderson Greene, two point pass from Martinez to Kyle Lopez.
Tucumcari: 55-yard pass from Martinez to Greene, two point pass from Martinez to Josh Goode.
Tucumcari: 1-yard rush Martinez, two point pass no good.
AA: 9-yard rush Crosby, kick Greer.
AA: 23-yard field goal, Greer.
AA: 6-yard rush Zane Horton, two point rush Crosby.
AA: 26-yard rush Thomas Lujan, kick Greer.
AA: 101-yard interception return Lujan, kick Greer
In other action:
• The 2-0 San Jon Coyotes won their game, 63-62, Friday in a six-man battle against the Eagles at Hondo.
• The 1-1 Logan Longhorns lost, 45-6, Friday night to Gateway Christian at Roswell in 8-man action.