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.
District 5 All-District Volleyball Team 2017
Mac Kinzie Romero
District 5 A Coach of the Year
Maria Gonzales, Springer
By Marty Mayfield
Raton hosted a first round NM State 3A Football Championship playoff game with Cuba Saturday afternoon November 11th in the Jungle and easily controlled the first half before turning the reins over to the JV in the second half for the 49-24 win.
The Raton defense forced the Rams to three and out after pinning them at their three-yard line. A fake punt and incomplete pass left Raton the ball on the Ram five-yard line. Tristen Gallegos took the ball the five yards for six and Aden Vanderwater added the PAT for a 7-0 game at 10:18 in the first quarter.
Another short Ram series resulted and gave the Tigers the ball on the Raton 20. Four plays later a 35-yard pass play from Dustin Segura to Gabe Martinez put six more on the board for Raton. The PAT made it a 14-0 game.
Cuba struggled on the next series with penalties and a punt gave Raton the ball at the 46. From there Raton drove the ball to the five-yard line where Segura found Nathaniel Tarbox for six and Tristen Gallegos added the 2-point conversion for a 22-0 game with 1:31 left in the first quarter.
Ismael Tafoya picked off an AJ Segura pass and returned it over 45 yards to the Ram three. From there Richie Acevedo took it in for six more but the PAT was low and blocked for a 28-0 game at 1:04 in the first.
Another four and out for Cuba gave the Tigers the ball on the 48 but four plays later a fumble recovered by the Rams gave Cuba the ball on the Raton 23-yard line. Another four and out for Cuba who faked more punts that resulted in incomplete passes gave Raton the ball on the 24. Five plays later a pass to Aden Vanderwater resulted in another six for Raton. Vanderwater’s PAT was good for a 35-0 game.
The Raton defense held on for a three and out and gave the offense the chance for another six when Ethan Martinez rumbled 10 yards for six more and with the PAT it was a 42-0 game with 1:42 left in the half. Ismael Tafoya intercepted an AJ Segura pass to end the half.
Second half action brought the Raton JV team to the field and while the defense did a fairly good job holding the Rams the Raton offense struggled to move the ball until the fourth quarter. Cuba however finally found the chink in the Raton defense and Orion Putman put the first points on the board when he caught an AJ Segura pass for six with only 18 seconds left in the third quarter. Miguel Madrid added the 2-point conversion to make it a 42-8 ball game.
Raton went three and out with Nathaniel Tarbox punting the ball into the end zone for the touch back. Cuba then put together another scoring drive that found Jeremy Segura all alone in the secondary with open field in front to go 65 yards for six. Again, Madrid added the 2-point conversion for a 42-16 game.
The Raton JV unable to move the ball was forced to punt where Tarbox put the ball on the Ram 10-yardline. From there Cuba once again put together a scoring drive that ended with a AJ Segura 31-yard run for six. Madrid plowed through the line for the 2-point try for a 42-24 score.
Ismael Tafoya took the kickoff 75 yards for six the PAT was good for a 49-24 score with 4:07 left on the clock.
Cuba took the ball to the 50 then a 50-yard pass play to Miguel Medina was called back for an illegal man down field penalty. Cuba would turn the ball over and Raton would end the game with a couple of knees to move on to the next round of state play in Estancia.
Raton Coach Tory Giacomo noted that the varsity boys did what he wanted by running the score to 42 then getting the JV team in for some much-needed playing time.
The Tigers are now into the quarterfinals and will travel next week to the Estancia Bears who got a fourth seed in the tourney and a bye into the second round of play. Giacomo noted it will be a tough game that the boys will have to play their best to win.
The Des Moines Lady Demons made a strong run at a 2017 NM Class A State Volleyball Championship, making it all the way to the Semifinals before falling to #1 seed Elida, 25 -19, 25-19, 25-14.
The Lady Demons seeded #4, finished first in their pool on Thursday morning and then had to expend a tremendous amount of energy in the quarterfinals to win in five games over Coronado. 21-25,24-26, 25-22, 25-22, 15-9.
Des Moines finished the year 19-3 and were a perfect 7-0 in district play under coach Jarrod Archuleta. Archuleta can look forward to some good years as the Lady Demons only graduated two seniors, Makenna Hittson and Abigail Trujillo. The lone junior on the squad was Angie Lopez with sophomores Grace Hall, Alison Guerrero and Ali Sanchez. A quartet of freshman Taya Archuleta, Kye Gates, Natashia McDonald, and Sydney Turner and 8th graders Hadley Miller and Jacee Sumpter rounded out the 2017 Lady Demons.
Assistant coach was Jennifer Roark with Annalisa Miller and Paiton Owensby handling the duties of managers.
The Raton Lady Tigers 2017 volleyball season was an unqualified success. The team finished with a 19-4 record, a regular season district championship, a #5 seed in the State Tournament and advanced to the quarterfinals by winning three straight, two in come-from-behind fashion. But then the Lady Tigers ran into the defending state champion Texico Lady Wolverines, and their season ended as the Wolverines played like a champion in winning three straight 25-17, 25-12, 25-14.
The Lady Tigers did not give the match away, the Lady Wolverines took it with strong net play and solid defense.
The Wolverines under coach Kristen Scanlon have won three straight 3A NM State Championships and Scanlon has been impressive since taking over in 2008, she has won a total of seven state titles and finished runner-up in another. After the match with Raton, Texico qualified for another title game with a three game sweep of Estancia in the 2017 semifinals.
Coached by Tinabeth Dorrance, the Lady Tigers have six seniors on the squad including; Autumn Archuleta, Hallie Medina, Camryn Mileta, Natasha Ortega, Marklyn Pacheco, and Camryn Stoecker. Juniors; Rebecca Muniz, Andie Ortega, Jadyn Walton and Kerrigan Weese. Ginger Baird was the lone sophomore and Crystal Ortiz the freshman on the team with Madisyn Mileta and Jose Archuleta serving as managers for the team.
Congratulations Lady Tigers and thanks for a great season!
The Raton Lady Tiger volleyball team had an excellent regular season this year, and came into the state playoffs as the number 5 seed in the tournament. But, after a disappointing third place finish in pool play on Thursday, November 9th, at Rio Rancho High School, they headed on the bus to Cleveland High School for the must win play-in game on Thursday afternoon against the Dulce Lady Hawks.
The Lady Tigers played as if there were no tomorrow and there wasn’t. If you lose, you’re out, if you win, you make Friday’s quarterfinals. The Tigers started strong and lead by as many as eight late in the first game before giving up some ground to the Lady Hawks, but then finished the job with a 25-20 victory.
The second game had Dulce leading the entire way, but Raton was not to be denied with a strong team effort, took the lead for the first time at 21-20 and then outlasted Dulce 27 -25 in overtime.
The third game was just as dramatic as the Lady Tigers were behind most of the game, but hung close and came on with a late surge to win 25-23, and earned the right to play the number one seed Texico Lady Wolverines on Friday, November 10th at 11:30 am at the Santa Ana Star Center.
By Marty Mayfield
As a district championship match should be it was a close one as the Lady Demons of Des Moines and the Lady Red Devils of Springer met in Des Moines Saturday evening to determine who would own the District 1A championship title for the 2017 volleyball season.
Des Moines came into the title match 18-2 overall with a district record of 7-0. Springer’s record overall was 11-11 with a district record of 5-3.
In game one it was close until something happened after a tie at five. Des Moines quickly made the plays that scored the points. Before long Des Moines was up 12-6. Des Moines continued their domination as McKenna Hittson went to the net for the kill or the block. At the net she often met Springer’s Katy Scott. The two would battle at the net several times during the championship match. Des Moines soon widened the score spread 20-11. At the end of the game Des Moines put on in the win column with a 25-15 score.
Game two started out close as well. Katy Scott was at the net for the block often for Springer to keep this game even closer than game one while the other Lady Red Devils like Alicia Arias kept the ball in play. 15-15 was the score midway through before Des Moines managed to make the plays work and pull out to a 25-20 win.
Game three saw the Lady Red Devils take control and while the Lady Demons made the kills it would be a Lady Red Devil win as the girls played the ball well making long volleys and working for the point. At the end of the game it was a Red Devil win 25-17.
In game four the Lady Demons found the groove they lost in game three and pulled out in front quickly. The Lady Red Devils played the ball to keep the score close until midway through the game when Des Moines widened the point spread going up 20-14. Des Moines went on to win the game and match to take the district title.
Both teams can now look forward to the state tourney to be held in Rio Rancho beginning Thursday with pool play.