Tucumcari was unable to get on anything going on offense as the Rattlers dropped their first district game to Estancia 42-13 on Friday night.
In the District 2-2A opener for both teams, Tucumcari (5-3, 0-1) was able to move the ball from time to time but couldn’t punch it into the endzone.
The Rattlers had a first and goal inside the five while trailing 6-0 in the first quarter but were stopped on all four chances and turned the ball over to Estancia (7-1, 1-0). The Bears took over and went down the field to score their second touchdown.
“We were running the ball really good, ” Tucumcari coach Daniel Hutchins said. “We got all the down to the 1-inch line but the refs said we didn’t punch it in.”
The Rattlers committed over 100 yards in penalties which also hurt them. The penalties stalled the offense and never let Tucumcari get any kind of offensive rhythm. Hutchins said the Rattlers had 9 to10 flags on them and only one on the Bears.
“One of the refs got hurt in the first quarter, ” Hutchins said. “I think they may have blamed us for that. But there is nothing we can do about that.”
Early in the third quarter it looked like the Rattlers were ready to jump back into the game when quarterback Alex Hutchins threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to Jakus Martinez to make the score 24-6, but Tucumcari was never able to get closer as Estancia scored three unanswered touchdowns to put the game out of reach.
The Rattlers defense struggled to shut down the Bears’ running attack. Lawerence Tapia rushed for four touchdowns and found a lot of running room on numerous plays. When the defense tried to key in on the run, the Bears seemed to always dial up the right pass play. The Rattlers would get the Bears in fourth down situations and were unable to make the big play Hutchins said.
“We are not tackling good enough,” Hutchins said. “During those fourth downs we would have someone there to stop them and just not make the tackle.”