The (8-3) Tucumcari Rattlers advance to the next round of the 2A state tournament with a 45-0 routing of Mesilla Valley Sonblazers Saturday at Rattler Stadium.
"We are thin, as a team," said Mike Draper, Sonblazers head coach.
Draper said his offensive line had to pull double duty, which led to a lot of pressure from the Rattlers defense to get through. He said his quarterback, sophomore Tristan Franzoy, had a lot of responsibility thrust upon him in the second half as the team decided to go to the air attack.
"We came out sluggish in the first half, and knew we had to come out and pressure their offense," said Wayne Ferguson, Rattlers head coach.
Applying pressure is exactly what the Rattlers did, limiting the Sonblazers to 154 total yards on offense and nine first downs through the game.
The Sonblazers turned the ball over five times, twice in the first half, which resulted in no points and three in the third period, resulting in 22 points for the Rattlers. The Rattlers defense was also able to force a safety in the final quarter.
"You can't turn the ball over five times and expect to win against any opponent," Draper said.
Ferguson said despite the win and 400 yards of offense, the Rattlers would need to play better football against Hatch Valley. He said the team was on cruise control in the first half.
"We had a chance to score on the first two turnovers and didn't get the job done," Ferguson said.
Ferguson said the team's three fumbles could have led to points for the Sonblazers in the first half shaping a much different game. He said the (7-3) Bears have a dynamic quarterback, who they will have to contain and they will have to close the running lanes for their running back.
The Bears quarterback Chase Carson averages 121 passing yards per game and rushes for 119 yards per game, according to Maxpreps statistics.
"He (Carson) may be the best quarterback we will have faced this year," Ferguson said. "We are going to have to prepare to play four quarters against them."
The Rattlers offense rushed for 358 yards, led by Jeffrey Cordova who had 19 carries for 138 yards and three touchdowns. Dillon Wood followed 12 carries for 129 yards and two touchdowns. Wood also broke up two passing attempts on fourth down attempts by the Sonblazers resulting in turnovers on downs and he had an interception in the final quarter.
"I just kept watching the quarterback, and honestly I thought Jordan (Walker) had it," Wood said.
Wood said the team would need to work hard this week to prepare for Saturday's game against the Bears.