Texico senior Chris Phillips runs around the end as he heads toward the end zone during the first half of Firday’s game against Tucumcari in Texico. Texico defeated Tucumcari 48-7. (Staff photo: Eric Kluth)
By Eric Butler: CNJ correspondent
TEXICO — Defending Class 1A state champion Texico continues to beat up on the big boys.
Led by a pair of 100-yard rushers and three touchdowns by quarterback Braden Vaughan, the Wolverines hammered out a 48-7 win over Tucumcari on Friday at the Field of Hopes and Dreams.
It was the third win this season for the top-ranked and unbeaten Wolverines (5-0) over a Class 2A team. Tucumcari (4-2) came into the game ranked third in 2A.
“The last two years, we just haven’t played very well against Texico. I don’t know what it is,” said Tucumcari coach Dub Smith, whose team was blasted 40-0 at home by the Wolverines a year ago.
The Rattlers did manage score this year when Eric Holt burst up the middle and scored from 35 yards out on the opening play of the fourth quarter to make the score 41-7.
Up to that point, the Wolverines’ defense had limited Tucumcari to 39 yards and two first downs.
“We’ve got to play four quarters and never get satisfied,” said Texico coach Mike Prokop, whose squad has won 17 games in a row. “We got a little complacent, but that’s partly Tucumcari, too. They didn’t give up, they kept coming.”
Just as it did last year, Texico wasted no time in grabbing the early momentum.
After forcing Tucumcari to punt after 3 yards on three offensive plays, the Wolverines drove 62 yards on only four plays to go up 7-0. Long runs by Johnny Serrano and Chris Phillips set up a 7-yard touchdown run by Texico quarterback Braden Vaughan.
Vaughan also ran in from 7 yards away on the home team’s next offensive possession for a 14-0 lead with 3:45 left in the first quarter. That was the second of three touchdowns for the Texico signal caller, while Phillips (148 yards) and Serrano (129) each topped the century mark in rushing.
The Rattlers, down two touchdowns already, gambled by attempting to convert a fourth-and-1 at their own 39 late in the opening period. But a quarterback draw by Chris McCasland was stopped cold by defensive tackle Leo Muniz. Five plays later, Serrano scored from 4 yards out to give the Wolverines a 20-0 lead.
Texico showed some pizzazz in going up 26-0. The big play, in a drive culminating on a Vaughan 2-yard touchdown run, was a 40-yard halfback pass from senior Tony Clement to Phillips.
“He throws a good ball. That’s a quarterback, right there — a wide receiver quarterback,” said Phillips of Clement, normally a wideout.
Before halftime arrived, Texico got on the scoreboard one more time. A 78-yard drive ended with a 10-yard touchdown run by Serrano with 1:26 left in the second quarter.
Texico resumed its control of the game to start the third quarter by marching 63 yards on eight plays — ending in a 17-yard run by Phillips.