By Marty Mayfield
The opening kickoff was made and a second ticked off the clock when officials started herding players off the field and fans out of the stands for the first of two lightning delays in the Raton Thoreau football game held at Branch Field or better known as Lobo Stadium in Albuquerque Thursday evening.
The first delay lasted over 55 minutes with play resuming at just after 8:00 p.m. and was followed by a second with 7:03 on the clock in the second quarter that lasted until 10:00 p.m.
By the time the second delay began Thoreau had put the first points on the board at 10:12 in the first with four runs by Hawk quarterback Seattle Willie ending with a 31 yard run for six. He then added two with the 2-point conversion.
Raton promptly went three and out but put Thoreau deep at the 6-yardline with a great Dillon Lemons punt. Angel Chee however put a big dent in that punt with a 51-yard romp. Four plays later Joseph Eoff takes a Willie, 45 yard pass play in for six. The 2-point try failed and left the Hawks up 14-0.
Raton however wasn’t to be denied and recovered a fumbled punt at the Hawk 36. One play later Dante Mileta scrambled 33 yards to pay dirt and scored the first points against Thoreau in four games. Thoreau had shutout their three previous opponents and won those games with 42 plus points per game. Oscar Arreola split the uprights to make it a 7-14 ball game.
A Raton fumble gave Thoreau the ball on the 45 and they ended a seven-play drive with a 6-yard run by Seattle Willie followed by Blair King adding the 2-point conversion at 7:03 on the clock in the second, which began the second lightning delay.
Coaches and official met during that delay and called it a halftime and agreed to resume the game with two nine-minute quarters to finish out the game. Coach Giacomo told KRTN after the game he didn’t feel the delays hurt Raton but that injuries were more of a factor as center Cole Medina went out with a shoulder injury.
Ray Daugherty came down with a Mileta pass in the shortened third quarter. After that a couple of bad snaps cost the Hawks several yards and turned the ball over on downs. Yet luck would shine on the Hawks as a bad snap on Raton’s part gave the ball to the Hawks on the Raton seven.
Willie would take it in from the two and then add two more for a 30-7 ball game with 7:54 in the fourth quarter.
Plagued by mistakes another Raton fumble would give Thoreau the ball on the Raton 35. This time Ray Daugherty got the honors and came around the end on a six yard run for six. The 2-point try was bungled by a bad snap making it a 36-7 ball game at 3:43 in the fourth.
The Tigers however came roaring back and Mileta connected with Jonathan Cabrieles for a 65-yard pass play and six more Raton points. The 2-point conversion was good and it was a 15-36 ball game.
Thoreau wanted more and ended a five play 48 yard drive with a 25 yard pass play from Willie to Daugherty for six and topped it off with a pass to Montana Miller for the 2-point conversion with 36 seconds left in the game.
Raton would put the ball in the air and come up empty handed and Mileta would end the game on a knee.
Raton begins their homecoming activities this week culminating with a game Friday night in the jungle against the West Las Vegas Dons. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. but get there early as mum presentations and other ceremonies will begin about 5:00 p.m.