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Raton Turnovers Give Estancia Quarterfinal Win

Billy Donati

KRTN Multi-Media

On a windy night in Estancia, The Raton Tigers had a nightmare first half in the quarterfinals of the 3A NM State Football Championships, losing two fumbles and suffering three interceptions against the Bears, but the Tigers defense kept Raton in the game before the clock ran out on the game and the season as Raton suffered a 26-14 loss.

The Bears actually committed the first turnover in the game on their second possession as Raton’s Brandon Urquijo recovered after a hit by Rafael Maso.  Raton couldn’t capitalize though and punted, giving Estancia the ball.  After a short drive Cruz Moreno threw to Josh Thomas for a 35 yard scoring pass for the first score with 2:15 left in the first quarter.

Raton fumbled on the next possession and Cruz Moreno finished off the short drive with a 22-yard run and Brian Walker missed the PAT making it 13-0 with 11:34 left in the first half. Yet another fumble gave the Bears another opportunity as Josh Thomas scored his second of three TDs with a 16 yard scramble with 10:12 left in the half and it was 20-0.

The next three series were interceptions from the Bears defense, but the Raton defense kept the game close and at the end of the first half Estancia couldn’t put the Tigers away.

Raton received the second half kickoff, but couldn’t do anything with it. Again the Raton defense kept the game close when Ethan Martinez recovered a Bears fumble inside Raton’s own 10 at 1:47 left in the third.  Raton’s offense woke up, with the help of one of several personal fouls, Raton had a 4th and 5 and converted to keep the drive alive with a 7-yard completion from Dustin Segura to Nathaniel Tarbox.  Raton would continue the drive into the fourth quarter when Dustin Segura took off for a 47 yard run and with the Vanderwater PAT it was 20-7 with 10:52 left in the game.

A 33 yard TD run by Thomas was negated by offsetting penalties Raton took over with 6:54 left in the game, and fumbled the snap again with Estancia recovering and making Raton pay for the mistake with a 9 play drive, capped by a 1 yard run by Thomas and with just under three minutes left, Estancia lead 26-7.

Raton’s offense though can strike quickly and it was a 75 yard pass play from Segura to Gabe Martinez that gave Raton another ray of hope as it was 26-14 with 2:42 left in the game.

Estancia chewed time off the clock, but coughed up the football and Raton recovered on their own 25 yard line and mounted a late drive, but couldn’t convert on a fourth down to lose in the quarterfinals.

Raton ended the season with a 9 and 3 record and will lose the services of eleven seniors including Nathaniel Tarbox, Dustin Segura, Tristan Gallegos, Gabe Martinez, Christian Snyder, Rafael Maso, Cole Medina, Roy Flores, William Holland, Brandon Decker and Ethan Martinez.

Coaches for the Tigers included Head Coach Tori Giacomo and assistant coaches Justin Malano, Robby Armijo, Jeremy Topping, Monte McGowan and Richard Main.  Managers for the 2017 Tigers were Sydni Silva and Jeremy Topping.

Despite the high winds Raton's Dustin Segura had some success in the passing game during the quarterfinal state playoff game in Estancia Friday night.

Despite the high winds Raton’s Dustin Segura had some success in the passing game during the quarterfinal state playoff game in Estancia Friday night.

 

Garrett Noblitt picks off a Dustin Segura pass one of several turnovers in the state playoff game in Estancia Friday night.

Garrett Noblitt picks off a Dustin Segura pass one of several turnovers in the state playoff game in Estancia Friday night.

 

Estancia's Cruz Moreno breaks a tackle and heads up field, a scene that played out often during the state playoff game Friday night.

Estancia’s Cruz Moreno breaks a tackle and heads up field, a scene that played out often during the state playoff game Friday night.

 

Dustin Segura under pressure comes wide right for the pass Friday night in Estancia during the state playoff game.

Dustin Segura under pressure comes wide right for the pass Friday night in Estancia during the state playoff game.

 

The elusive Dustin Segura gets around this would be tackler for a good gain Friday night during the state playoff game in Estancia.

The elusive Dustin Segura gets around this would be tackler for a good gain Friday night during the state playoff game in Estancia.

 

As happened several times during the game Josh Thomas(3) breaks free and scampers up field for good yardage. It was often hard to tell who was the Bear quarterback as the ball was snapped to one of four different players during the state playoff game.

As happened several times during the game Josh Thomas(3) breaks free and scampers up field for good yardage. It was often hard to tell who was the Bear quarterback as the ball was snapped to one of four different players during the state playoff game.

 

Gabe Martinez grabs hold and doesn't let go of Josh Thomas despite the strong arm push by Thomas.

Gabe Martinez grabs hold and doesn’t let go of Josh Thomas despite the strong arm push by Thomas.

 

Aden Vanderwater adds the extra point to one of the two TDs Raton managed to score in the wind blown state playoff game Friday night in Estancia.

Aden Vanderwater adds the extra point to one of the two TDs Raton managed to score in the wind blown state playoff game Friday night in Estancia.

 

Josh Thomas takes the handoff from Cruz Moreno, Moreno and Thomas often lined up side by side in the backfield making the defense guess who the snap would go to during the state playoff game Friday night.

Josh Thomas takes the handoff from Cruz Moreno, Moreno and Thomas often lined up side by side in the backfield making the defense guess who the snap would go to during the state playoff game Friday night.

 

Ismael Tafoya takes the kickoff and heads up field for good yardage with a whole host of Bears closing in for the tackle.

Ismael Tafoya takes the kickoff and heads up field for good yardage with a whole host of Bears closing in for the tackle.

 

Despite the high winds Dustin Segura brings the ball up for a long pass Friday night during the state playoff game in Estancia.

Despite the high winds Dustin Segura brings the ball up for a long pass Friday night during the state playoff game in Estancia.

 

Richie Acevedo struggled to make yardage carrying the ball but made a huge impact on the defense as he was in on several tackles during he night.

Richie Acevedo struggled to make yardage carrying the ball but made a huge impact on the defense as he was in on several tackles during he night.

 

 

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