By Thomas Garcia
QCS Senior Writer
A triple-threat rushing attack by the Estancia Bears wore down the Tucumcari defense, while turnovers once again stalled Rattlers’ offensive drives in Friday night football action.
“I am proud of our effort; we kept playing even though we were running out of steam,” said Wayne Ferguson, Rattlers head coach.
Ferguson said the final score — Estancia won 44-18 — did not reflect the strides the Rattlers made in the season’s third week.
He said Tucumcari’s defense stopped the Bears twice from converting on fourth down. Also, Seth Martinez had an interception and Josh Goode recovered a kickoff fumble that led to a score for the Rattlers.
The fumble recovery was the spark the Rattlers needed going into the second half.
Tucumcari’s offense capitalized and scored on a 6-yard pass from Zach Martinez to Zedric Henderson Greene to open the third quarter.
Bears quarterback Isaiah Chavez quickly answered the Rattlers score with an 89-yard touchdown pass to Josh Thomas. Neither team scored in the remainder of the third quarter.
Estancia’s Ezekiel Tapia opened the fourth quarter with a 5-yard rushing touchdown. The Rattlers scored on their next possession on a 10-yard pass from Martinez to Saul Ramos.
Then Tapia rushed for two more touchdowns for the Bears.
Chavez, Thomas and Tapia each contributed to Estancia’s more than 350 rushing yards. Tapia rushed for five touchdowns that combined for 102 yards.
Ferguson said Tucumcari’s defense was tested by the Bears’ rushers, although they only allowed one rushing touchdown of more than 20-yards.
However, the Bears’ relentless rush attack not only tired the Rattlers’ defense it kept the offense sidelined.
The Rattlers’ lone score in the first half, a 20-yard pass from Martinez to Ramos, came at the close of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, a Rattlers’ defensive stand on fourth down ended the Bears’ 70-yard drive.
The Rattlers’ next possession was short lived. A fumble turned the ball over deep in Tucumcari territory.
Ferguson said the defense did a good job of hustling back onto the field. He said the team, 0-3, did not let the turnover affect its focus.
However, a second fumble by the Rattlers was also recovered by the Bears. That turnover led to another Tapia score.
“We are our own worst enemy,” Ferguson said. “We must take care of the football.”
Estancia 44, Tucumcari 18
Estancia 8 8 8 20
Tucumcari 6 0 6 6
Estancia: 15-yard rush Ezekiel Tapia (Josh Thomas Rush)
Tucumcari: 20-yard pass from Zach Martinez to Saul Ramos (pass failed)
Estancia: 9-yard rush Tapia (Isaiah Chavez pass to Brian Walker)
Tucumcari: 6-yard pass from Martinez to Zedric Henderson Greene (pass failed)
Estancia: 89-yard pass from Chavez to Thomas ( Chavez pass to Thomas)
Estancia: 5-yard rush Tapia (Tapia run)
Tucumcari: 10-yard pass from Martinez to Ramos (pass failed)
Estancia: 58-yard rush Tapia (pass failed)
Estancia: 15-yard rush Tapia (pass failed)
In other action
The San Jon Coyotes won their third straight game by way of the 50 points mercy rule Friday at Carrizozo.
The Coyotes beat Reserve 56-6 in the third quarter. The mercy rule calls the end of a game when a team is leading by 50 points by or after halftime.
“Our offense had too much speed for them to contain,” said Bobby Gomez, Coyotes head coach.
Gomez said Reserve is a young team that lost several starters to graduation.
“Reserve showed a lot of heart on the field, they could be a team to watch out for later in the season,” Gomez said.
Gomez said the win comes as a big boost for the Coyotes’ program heading into a two-week bye. He said two schools have canceled their upcoming games. It will be two weeks before the team plays again.
“We are going to take the time to rest up,” Gomez said. “The team will practice staying sharp, but as any coach knows, nothing can simulate actual game play.”
The 1-2 Logan Longhorns lost 50-6 Saturday at Mesilla Valley Christian School.
The Longhorns have a bye week this coming week.