Friday, September 24, 2010

Santa Teresa Spoils Warriors’ Homecoming

By Nicky Romero

SOCORRO -- The Socorro High School football team experienced its first taste of defeat this season, falling 36-26 to Class 4A opponent the Santa Teresa Desert Warriors Friday during its homecoming game.
Socorro was ranked as high as number three in Class 3A in the KOB-TV polls.  Their record now stands at 3-1 overall.  Santa Teresa evened their record to 2-2.
“Santa Teresa is a real good ball club,” Coach Damian Ocampo said.  “I'm glad we got to play them.  We knew that they were going to be every bit as physical and talented as they were.
    “I  think we're right there.  I think we're one of the elite teams in 3A.  I think we need to be ready to fight through adversity a little bit quicker.  We lost two of our starters (Sam Hale and Matthew Lopez), all-district players, in the first drive of the game.  And we lost one of our starters before the game even started, slipping in the hallway and hitting his head on the wall.” 
Santa Teresa led from start to finish, scoring the first 16 points of the game.
On their second drive of the game and 2:46 in the first quarter, three year starting quarterback Joshua Ramirez threw a 48-yard touchdown pass to his wide receiver Keith Harding, capping an 82-yard drive.The extra point was good for a 7-0 lead.
With 2:31 left in the first, Socorro fumbled and linebacker Eli Esparza recovered at the Warrior 33 yard line. Taking advantage of the good field position and a minute gone in the second quarter, Santa Teresa's kicker Edwin Gallardo kicked a 22-yard field goal for a 10-0 lead.
Santa Teresa upped its lead to 16-0 when Ramirez threw a TD pass to Mark Martinez with 3:22 left until halftime.
“We had some blown coverages where we just handed them two touchdowns,”  Ocampo said.  “It's not something that we usually do.  We have a very veteran and smart secondary, but it happens sometimes.  We just made some mental mistakes.”
Socorro finally got into the end zone with 1:18 left in the first half.  The Warriors capped off an 80-yard drive with Esquivel keeping the ball for an 18-yard touchdown run.  The extra point run was unsuccessful. 
Socorro closed the first half in a flurry.  Esquivel intercepted the ball and returned it to the 50, with only 16 seconds on the clock.  On the first play, Esquivel handed off to running back James Thornton, who cutback left across the grain for a 50 yard touchdown and only four seconds left.  The extra point field goal snap was fumbled and was no good as the Warriors trailed 16-12 at halftime.
In the third quarter, Santa Teresa increased its lead to 23-12, courtesy of  Ramirez's keeper up the middle from the three and using over six minutes of the clock.
The Warriors got the points back with 2:14 left in the third.  Esquivel threw a 52- yard touchdown pass to Ibrahim Maiga.  The extra point run for two was good by Thornton and now only a 23-20 deficit.
Thanks to a great defensive stand early in the fourth quarter, Socorro got the ball back on its own 25 yard line. Socorro drove down the field but on  third and six at Santa Teresa's 33, Esquivel threw an interception, which was returned to the 45.
Seven plays later, Santa Teresa scored on another Ramirez keeper up the middle for a 5-yard touchdown.  The extra point kick was good for  a 30-20 lead, with only 5:58 left in the game.  But the Warriors did not give up.
Starting on its own 26, Socorro finished an eight-play drive with an end around handoff to Maiga for a one yard touchdown run. The two-point conversion failed. The touchdown drive was aided by a dump pass to Thornton for 33 yards and a pass to Marquez for 18 yards.  A six-yard run by Jorge Rivas contributed to the drive.  With 3: 28 left, Socorro trailed by four points.
The Warriors tried an onside kick that rolled only eight yards. Santa Teresa had the ball on Socorro's 48. Five plays later, Ramirez scored on a 15-yard run for a 36-26 lead,
“We have to be ready to fight thru adversity,” said Ocampo.  “We kind of ran a little thin and ran out of guys, but we kept fighting.  I was proud of the kids for that.”
Socorro is hoping to bounce back with a victory on Saturday at Pojoaque (2-2) at 1 p.m. Saturday.
“It's football and we've got to bounce back.  If you don't bounce back, it's going to be a long season.  I'm confident we're going to be fine.  The big thing is we need to get healthy.”

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