Thursday, December 10, 2009

Socorro Falls In Final

SOCORRO – The Warriors did all they could Saturday Dec. 2nd in the state championship game against Lovington.
It just wasn’t quite enough as Lovington escaped with a 28-21 victory to claim its 16th Class AAA state title.
“I am proud of the kids,” Socorro coach Damien Ocampo said. “They played with a lot of effort and passion. They played hard and that was our goal. We just made too many mistakes to be a good team like that. People thought it was not going to be close.”
But it was -- it was extremely close.
Check out the stats: Lovington held a 357-341 advantage in yards and a 17-16 margin in first downs. The key for the Warriors is that they were able to run the football as they gained 326 yards on the ground.
“We got in a groove on offense,” Ocampo said. “We did a good job blocking up front and our running backs ran really hard.”
Charlie Savedra ran for 120 yards, including a 56-yarder for a touchdown. Jose Alvarado had 89 yards rushing and James Thornton added 87 yards, including a 58-yarder for a touchdown to give Socorro a 7-0 lead in the first quarter with 3:23 left.
Socorro had some problems containing Lovington quarterback Jacob Jameson, who threw three touchdown passes and ran for another. Especially vexing for Socorro was Jameson broke containment on a couple of third down and long situations and he was able to run for a first down.
“They played us a lot tougher than we thought they would,” Jameson said.
Jameson led Lovington to a 21-7 lead late in the second quarter.
The Warriors suffered a big blow when starting quarterback Zach Esquivel got leveled after throwing a pass. He stayed on the ground while coaches tended to his shoulder.
Esquivel finally got helped to the sideline and the Warriors turned to their starter for the first half of the season, Ryan Romero.
Right before halftime, Socorro got within 21-13 when Alvarado scored from 34 yards out. The extra point was missed.
On Socorro’s first drive of the third quarter, Savedra broke loose on a 56-yard run. Near the end zone, he fumbled, but he was able to recover for the touchdown. Alvarado ran in the two-point conversion to help Socorro tie the game at 21-21.
“I thought we did a lot of things that people thought we could not do and we stuck with their guys,” Savedra said. “It was a good fight the whole game. It just happened they ended up winning.”
Defenses dominated until late in the fourth quarter when Lovington took over on its own 41 after a Socorro fumble.
With 4:17 left, Jameson threw a 24-yard pass and then he ran for 13 yards. After a four-yard gain, Jameson found Kyler Gilbreath for an 18-yard touchdown pass with 2:57 left. Socorro got the ball back one last time and mustered one first down before Ryan Romero threw an interception.
Lovington celebrated and the Socorro players walked slowly back to the bench. Jameson took a knee three straight times and the game was over.
Ocampo probably summed it up best. “It was a really special year,” Ocampo said. “These guys made history. They truly did.”

Photo: Charlie Savedra accepts the runner-up trophy from his father, athletic director Charlie Savedra.

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