By Marty Mayfield
The Raton Tigers were on the road again this week in Tucumcari for their first District game where they slugged it out with their opponent and gritted out a 20-13 victory on Friday, Oct., 6th. The Raton defense was on the field for a big part of the night because of the methodical offense of Tucumcari, but held the Rattlers to three and out on their first series and followed it up with a drive that culminated in a 15-yard pass play from Dustin Segura to Gabe Martinez for their first TD of the game.
Tucumcari comes back on their second series, however and drives the ball down the field. At the 20-yard line they go for a 4th and short yardage and make the first to keep the drive alive at the 18-yard line. Tucumcari ends the first quarter threatening at the sixteen. They face a 4th and eight but fail to get the first and turn the ball over on downs at the Raton 10-yardline.
Raton then goes three and out and Tucumcari brings the punt back to the 29-yard line. From there they take advantage and move the ball down the field into the red zone and again threaten. Rattler quarterback Casey Carter takes it in from the three after a 14 play drive, but Raton’s Cisco Olguin gets a body on the PAT and leaves it 7-6 Raton.
Raton’s next series gets the ball down to the Tucumcari 30 where penalties kill scoring opportunities when Raton has two long touchdowns called back with holding penalties, one a Segura run and the other a Tarbox reception. Raton is unable to make it work and turns the ball over on downs at the Tucumcari 12 yardline.
Tucumcari manages to move the ball out to the 35 but is forced to punt. Raton only has about 1:30 to move the ball to pay dirt. Raton however ends the half with two incomplete passes and a score of 7-6.
Third quarter action sees both teams stutter until Rafael Maso blocks a Tucumcari punt and gives Raton the ball on the 49. Three plays later Raton finds pay dirt with a 21-yard run by Nathaniel Tarbox. Aden Vanderwater’s PAT falls short leaving it Raton 13-6.
Tucumcari plays hardnose football and runs the ball down the field and once again puts it inside the red zone. After 15 plays Gabe Martinez picks off a Carter pass in the end zone but falls into the field where the officials mark the ball at the one yard line ending a 60 plus yard drive.
Raton ends the third quarter and starts the fourth with a fumble at the 12-yard line. Tucumcari drives the ball forward and finally into the end zone with a 2-yard run by Xavier Garcia the PAT is good for a 13-13 ball game.
Raton’s Ismael Tafoya takes the kickoff to the Raton 42-yard line where Raton then drives the ball down the field till Tucumcari puts the brakes on the Tigers at the 40 on two incomplete passes. Tucumcari once again drives down the field only to turn the ball over on downs at the Tucumcari 40-yard line after two sacks and an incomplete pass.
Raton took over with 3:46 left and Dustin Segura went to one of his favorite targets, Nathaniel Tarbox who stiff-armed his way to a big 47 yard gain. Two plays later, Segura keeps for a 5-yard run for six. Vanderwater’s PAT is good to make it a 20-13 game.
Tucumcari took over with just over 3 minutes left, but even though the Raton defense was on the field for much of the game, they tightenened the belt and force the Rattlers to turn over the ball on downs as Christian Snyder sacks the Rattler QB with 52 seconds on the 4th quarter clock. Raton takes the knee twice to end their first district ball game with a 20-13 victory and a season mark of 6-1.
Raton played most of the game without two of their key starters as Tristan Gallegos suffered an ear laceration and Richie Acevedo appeared to suffer an elbow injury.
Raton comes home after three straight long road trips and will take on Clayton on Friday, October 13 at 7 pm. The game will be broadcast on 93.9 FM and Network1Sports.com.