The Raton Tigers hosted the Santa Rosa Lions in a key District 5/3AAA football game on Friday, October 20th, and the Lions used their ground churning, single wing offense for one long drive, but it was the Lions defense that made the difference. The Lion defenders recovered two Raton fumbles, one for a touchdown, and made two goal-line stands to keep the prolific Raton offense out of the endzone for most of the game, as the Tigers absorbed a 21 – 15 loss.
The Tigers defense started the game stopping the vaunted Santa Rosa single wing on a three and out, but then the Raton offense fumbled twice on their first series, losing the second one to give the Lions the ball on the Raton 35. The short field drive ended with a 1-yard TD plunge at 3:43 left in the first period.
Raton took over after the kickoff on their own 38 yard line and finished the first period and opened up the second period with a 10 play drive for a score as Dustin Segura found Nathaniel Tarbox with a 17 yard score on a bootleg pass. With the Vanderwater PAT it was a tie game at seven with 10 minutes left in the half.
The Raton defense threw another three and out on the Santa Rosa offense and after a third and long completion to Tarbox, Raton fumbled and the Lion’s Darren Chavez ran it back for a TD with 6:39 left in the half. The PAT made it 14-7. After a good Ismael Tafoya return, Raton started a drive, as the halftime neared but a 27-yard completion to Gabe Martinez was negated by an illegal man downfield, one of several drive killing penalties for the Tigers
Raton came out for the third period and put together a 15 play, clock consuming drive of their own. The drive consumed nearly half of the third period and included a 3rd and seven conversion to Tarbox, a Richie Acevedo 17 yard run, overcoming a personal foul and then, facing a 2nd and 17 on the Lion’s 25, two straight completions to Gabe Martinez gave the Tigers a first and goal on the 8 and a chance to tie the game. Instead Santa Rosa held on a fourth and goal from the three, and then proceeded to turn it around for a 20 play, 97-yard clinching drive with the Lions Darren Chavez getting the final yard to make it 21 – 7.
Raton’s Defense again was up to the task and gave the offense the ball with 5:10 left. A long completion from QB Dustin Segura to Tarbox put the Tigers with a first and goal at the five. However on a fourth and goal, a Segura attempt was batted down as the Lions D kept Raton out of the endzone again.
Raton did come on late with a scoring drive with under two minutes to go, as Richie Acevedo took the 6 yard Segura scoring pass on the final play of regulation and then Segura ran the two point conversion in for the final 21 -15 margin.
There were some tense moments in the 4th quarter, when Cole Medina was injured while making a tackle. Medina was carted off the field, but xrays were negative and the senior appeared to be sore, but ok.
Raton’s season mark is now 7 -2 and 2-1 in District and heads to Texico on October 27 for a regular season district finale. Kickoff is 7 pm, and the game will be broadcast on KRTN FM 93.9 and streamed on Network1Sports.com