By Nicky Romero
The fifth-ranked Socorro Warriors football team lost their first district game against the tenth-ranked Hatch Valley Bears on Friday. The final score was 46-34.
“Hatch has got a really good run game”, said Coach Damian Ocampo. “We weren't getting to the spots we can get to.”
The first Socorro turnover came on the opening kickoff. Seven plays later, running back Herrera finished the short drive with a 9-yard run. With 5:27 in the first, the Warriors got a break on a Zack Binger field goal.
Hatch took the lead with 2:11 in the first on a six play and 85-yard drive that was finished by a 2-yard score by Herrera. The two-point conversion was no good.
Socorro received the kickoff with good field position at their own 41-yard line, but quickly gave the ball back to Hatch on a James Thorton fumble. Marcus Moyer recovered the ball on the 44-yard line. Quarterback Angel kept the ball for 33 yards. He ran it in on the next down for the touchdown with only 36 clicks left in the first and a large 20-8 lead.
The third major turnover came early in the second quarter. Esquivel fumbled and gave the ball back to Hatch on the Warriors 45-yard line. On third and four at the 39 yard line, Angel kept the ball and ran down the right sideline for another Bear's touchdown.
Hatch tried another onside kick, but this time the ball was recovered by Socorro's Ray Vaiza at the Warrior's forty-five. Six plays later, the Warriors got back on the scoreboard with a 1-yard touchdown run by Thorton. The extra point kick by Binger was good.
The Warriors last score of the half came with 1:14 on the clock. The big play coming on an Esquivel pass to wide receiver Adrian Miranda for 20 yards. Esquivel then hit his other receiver Jared Marquez with an 11-yard touchdown pass in the end zone that ended a 77-yard drive. Binger's kick was no good. Socorro was able to narrow the gap to34-21.
Hatch was not content with running the time off the clock. Starting the drive on their own 43-yard line. Herrera ran the ball to the 10-yard line and Angel took it in a few plays later for their final first half score with only :21 on the clock. The Bears went into halftime leading 40-21.
“Hatch got points off all three turnovers”, said Ocampo. “When you give a team every opportunity, it is dang near impossible to come back, especially against a team that holds onto the ball like that.”
After half-time Socorro took possession on the their own 14-yard line. On a fourth and nine, Ibrahim Maiga caught an Esquivel pass and scampered for 19 yards to the 19-yard line.
Esquivel faked and threw a flair pass to Aaron McDaniel for an 18-yard touchdown and moved the Warriors closer to the Bears 40-28.
Hatch put away any thoughts of a Socorro comeback in the fourth quarter. They scored their only touchdown of the second half on a 92-yard drive that was completed by a 4-yard run by Herrera with 8:37 on the clock and a 46-28 lead.
On fourth and goal from the five, Esquivel threw a pass in the end zone to Marquez for the touchdown. Binger's extra point kick was blocked.
Socorro play the Hot Springs Tigers on Friday at Warrior Stadium at 7 pm.