By Marty Mayfield
The Raton Tigers traveled over the hill to Espanola Saturday, August 26th for the 2017 football season opener against the McCurdy Bobcats and came back with a 44-17 victory.
The Tigers offense had a slow start going three and out to start off the game. The Raton defense however came out strong and ready as they pushed the Bobcats backward causing a couple of fumbles and a blocked punt that was whistled dead before Nathaniel Tarbox carried the ball into the end zone. Raton however fumbled on the next play which resulted in a safety three plays later putting Raton on the board with two points.
Raton took the kickoff and returned it for great field position, three plays later Ismael Tafoya rambled across the goal line for six. The PAT failed and Raton lead the game 8-0. The Bobcats however got a spark with a 72 yard kick off return that Dante Romero, a 5’3″ 116 pound sophomore, made the angle and a TD saving tackle around the five yard-line. The Raton first-team defense then held strong, stopping the Wildcats there and holding McCurdy’s offense scoreless in the first half, as they also prevented a score after another long kickoff return with an interception that lead to another TD for Raton.
From that point it was all Raton with quarterback Dustin Segura scoring six more and Aden Vanderwater finding the spot and splitting the uprights for the PAT. This trend continued until halftime when Raton lead the game 44-0. As Coach Tori Giacomo said earlier in the week he wanted to have a good mix of plays which carried Raton across the goal line with a pass to Ismael Tafoya and a pass to Nathaniel Tarbox for six and a five yard run by Tarbox for six more.
Coach Giacomo also wanted to see his JV squad get some playing time which happened in the third and fourth quarter. The Raton JV struggled with the Bobcat varsity defense and were unable to move the ball. Giacomo noted after the game that the JV will have to do some work on holding on to the ball and making the plays work. It was evident that the Freshmen on the JV team had first game jitters as they jumped offsides for procedure penalties to send them backwards instead of forward for positive yardage. By the end of the game the JV finally began to gel but not before the Bobcats managed to put 17 points on the board under the direction of Freshman quarterback Santiago Samora and a 23 yard field goal by Raul Arroyo. Samora took over the reins of the Bobcat offense after quarterback Ernesto Martinez was injured.
As the final buzzer sounded on the scoreboard it was a mark in the win column for the Tigers with a 44-17 score. Giacomo noted after the game that the team will have lots to work in preparation for the upcoming game with Trinidad on Friday, September 1st in the Jungle.
The season home-opener will have a 7:00 pm kickoff and will be broadcast on KRTN FM 93.9 and streamed on Network1Sports.com.The 10 seniors on the Raton team are preparing for the annual rivalry game and hope to recapture the Coal Bucket Trophy for Raton this year.