By Thomas Garcia
Clovis Media Inc.
Tucumcari second-year coach Wayne Ferguson said he will have a young team this fall.
Ferguson said the team graduated several starters from last year’s 8-4 team that finished third in the district and lost to Hatch Valley in the second round of of the Class 2A playoffs
The Rattlers have five offensive and seven defensive starters returning, with sophomores filling in many key spots.
“The team is going to have to grow up fast,” Ferguson said.
Ferguson said he is looking for big things from newcomers Javier Villanueva and Daniel Lopez.
A junior, Villanueva will play tight end.
“He is a strong player that shows great potential,” Ferguson said.
Lopez is projected to start at running back and cornerback.
“We are already starting to see some great things out of Lopez in practice,” Ferguson said.
Among the Rattlers’ top returning players are:
z Senior quarterback/linebacker Michael Olivas;
z Junior fullback/linebacker Saul Moriel;
z Senior wide receiver/defensive back Mark Preciado;
z Senior offensive tackle/defensive tackle Breysen Billings;
z Senior guard and nose guard Brad Lopez;
z Junior offensive tackle/defensive tackle Marcus Chavez.
Ferguson said Olivas and Moriel are expected to make quite an impact as linebackers. He said their physical stature and athleticism could make them two of the best linebackers in the state.
Ferguson said Olivas would also be making the switch from tight end to quarterback this year. He said Olivas did play as a quarterback at younger age and is an athletic and bright young man.
“Olivas will be playing with a learning curve as he adjusts to the position,” Ferguson said. “He already has a good grasp on the quarterback position and is working well during practices to learn our system.”
Ferguson said this summer they had several players who continued their workout during the off-season.
“This is key to developing a team (whuch) wants to reach the state championship level,” Ferguson said. “In our district, we need to have players who buy into the program on and off season and are committed to the work.”
No. Name Yr Pos.
1 Javier Villanueva Jr. TE/SS
3 Tyler Ferguson So. QB/CB
4 Dominic Ortiz Fr. WR/DE
8 Jonathan Preciado Jr. WR/CB
10 Nathan Lopez So. RB/LB
12 Michael Olivas Sr. QB/LB
13 Zac Martinez Fr. RB/S
17 Dominic Blea Fr. WR/S
20 Saul Moriel Jr. FB/LB
21 Mark Preciado Sr. WR/CB
22 Kyle Lopez Fr. FB/LB
23 Michael Shelton Fr. WR/S
25 Timmy Skinner Sr. FB/DE
30 Noah Marquez Fr. RB/CB
32 Billy Sandoval Fr. RB/CB
33 Daniel Lopez So. RB/CB
34 Nathan Alexander Jr. r TE/DE
40 Brandon Aragon Jr. RB/CB
44 Nathan Vargas Sr. RB/DE
51 Carlos Marquez Sr. G/DT
52 Breysen Billings Sr. T/DT
54 A.J. Chavez Sr. G/LB
56 Santiago Alires Fr. G/LB
60 Manuel Blea Sr. C/DT
61 James Griego Fr. T/DT
63 Lawrence Chavez Fr. T/DT
68 Sergio Reyes Fr. G/DT
70 Antonio Norton Jr. Fr. T/DT
73 Ben Supple Jr. G/NG
75 Brad Lopez Sr. G/NG
76 HD McClure So. C/DT
77 Edmundo Durazo So. T/DT
78 Marcus Chavez Jr. T/DT
79 John Freeman So. G/DT
85 Austin Welch Sr. WR/CB
August: 30 — at Raton, 7 p.m.
September: 6 — NMMI, 7p.m.; 20 – Dexter, 7 p.m.; 27 — at Fort Sumner, 7 p.m.
October: 4 — at Eunice, 7 p.m.; 18 — Texico,7 p.m.-x; 25 — at Estancia, 7 p.m.-x
November: 1 — at Clayton, 7 p.m.-x.; 8 — Santa Rosa, 7 p.m.-x.
x-District 2-2A games