The Tucumcari Rattlers beat the Eunice Cardinals in a come-from-behind, overtime victory 40-37.
"This was a good one. I thought the boys came up and showed a lot of heart," said Rattlers head football coach Daniel Hutchins. "(John) Span did a great job coaching the defensive line."
Although the Rattlers got the momentum going with the first touchdown, they hit a tough patch with several turnovers and fumbles which gave the Cardinals the advantage. It wasn't until the third and fourth quarter that the Rattlers made a decisive move to even the score and win during a nailbiting overtime.
The Cardinals dominated the first quarter – mostly on Rattler errors. The Cardinals scored two touchdowns off of Rattler fumbles and caught two interceptions thrown by quarterback Alex Hutchins.
The Rattlers scored their second touchdown in the second quarter but failed to make the two-point conversion to bring the score to Cardinals 21, Rattlers, 13.
At half time the Rattlers made some adjustments and focused more on running the ball and less on passing. And by the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Cardinals were beginning to feel the heat. Wide receiver Jakus Martinez, on a short pass thown by Hutchins, scored the touchdown and kicker Stephen Smith made the extra point to narrow gap to Cardinals 34, Rattlers 26.
A big break came for the Rattlers when an illegal blocking call against Eunice bought back a long run by Cardinals runningback Ulises Lozano.
And then late in the fourth quarter, Lucas Benavidez scored a touchdown and the Rattlers’ offense was able to capitalize on the two-point conversion and tie the score 34-34 with 3:33 left on the clock.
The Rattlers defense held back the Cardinals and kept them from scoring with two seconds left on the clock to lead to overtime.
In ovetime, the Cardinals had control of the ball first and managed to score a field goal.
The Rattlers would need a touchdown to win. On the fourth down with nine to go, Martinez caught the winning touchdown pass from Hutchins.
The Rattlers are now 3-3 for the season.
The Rattlers play Dexter High School on Friday at Dexter.