Thursday, September 23, 2010

Warriors (2-0) Face Rematch With Raton

By Nicky Romero

RUIDOSO – The fourth-ranked Socorro Warrior football team (2-0) led from start to finish and defeated the No. 8 Ruidoso Warriors (1-1)42-18 last Friday night.
“I'm really pleased with our effort,” said Coach Damian Ocampo. “We weren't very smart at times tonight, but we did play with some effort. We came out and played hard. I'm proud of the kids, each and everyone of them.
“I am definitely satisfied on the improvement from game one to game two. I think we need to improve a lot more than what we got if we expect to be a top five team in the state, which we strive for every year. I think if we keep taking these steps, we got a chance to be there.”
Ocampo is tuning his team for the first “Big Game” of the season on Friday at 7 p.m. at Warrior Stadium against the second-ranked Raton Tigers (2-0). The Tigers will be returning to Socorro to try to avenge a 21-17 loss to the Warriors in last season's playoff semifinal game.
Against Ruidoso, Socorro continued to run the ball successfully and gained a quick lead in the first quarter. With 11:11 on the clock, James Thornton ran off tackle for 43 yards for the first score of the game.
Ruidoso started its first drive on its own 32 yard line. Three plays later, they gave up the ball on an interception by cornerback Ibrahim Maiga, who returned the ball to the 46 yard line.
After a Sam Hale reception for 15 yards, a Zach Esquivel quarterback keeper for 11 yards, and a Jared Marquez reception for 9 yards, Esquivel finished the drive with a 1 yard run up the middle at the 7:35 mark. It was enough for a 14-0 lead after the first quarter.
Ruidoso finally got on the scoreboard in the second quarter. Senior Brendan Flack returned a punt for 37 yards. The extra point was no good, but narrowed the gap to 14-6 with 7:32 left on the clock.
Socorro quickly got the points back two minutes later. Starting on their own 28 yard line, Esquivel kept the ball for 9 yards, Thornton contributed with an 18 yard run, and Esquivel again kept for 7 yards. Esquivel again kept the ball for 13 yards plus 15 yards for a personal foul against Ruidoso
Facing a first down and 14 siutation, Esquivel finished the drive with a touchdown pass to Marquez with 5:53 on the clock. The extra point was no good and Socorro's lead stood at 20-6.
Socorro's defense contributed to their last score of the first half. With Ruidoso at its 44 yard line, linebacker David Robinson caused a fumble and teammate Cesar Espino recovered the ball on the 36 yard line. With 1:23 left in the half, Esquivel again kept the ball and ran for a 6 yards up the middle. Esquivel added to his points total with a two-point run conversion. Socorro lead at halftime 28-6.
Defensive Coach Chuck Zimmerly said, “I thought we were very physical. We played a much more physical game tonight than we did last week. We made mistakes. We got plenty to work on. We've got the #2 team in the state next week and we've got a lot to get ready for. I think we're improving and we'll be ready to go on Friday.”
In the opening drive of the second half, Ruidoso tried to get back in the game with senior Jesse Scarafiotti scampering for 43 yards to the Socorro 35 yard line. Flack quickly put the ball in the end zone with a cutback run and narrowing Socorro's lead to 28-12. The two-point pass conversion fell incomplete.
Socorro put away the game with two more scores. In the third quarter, Esquivel finished a 63 yard drive with a keeper to the left side for a 17 yard touchdown. Socorro finished another 63-yard drive in the fourth quarter, this time Esquivel taking the ball to the right side giving Socorro an insurmountable 42-12 lead.
Ruidoso added to its scoring with 1:47 left in the game. Junior running back Tanner Chavez ran for a 1 yard touchdown and the final score of the game.
Socorro's kicker Zack Binger was almost perfect on extra points, missing only one due to a fumble on the snap.
In this week's game against Raton, Ocampo is hoping for similar results like last year's semifinal victory, but he knows it's not going to be easy. So far this season, Raton defeated Clayton 46-20 and Trinidad 34-14.
“Raton is really, really good,” Ocampo said. “Everybody that saw them play last year the two times against us knows they were great games. We know that they're going to play hard against us. They have a Division 1 quarterback by the name of Dustin Walton.”
Ocampo said Walton is being offered scholarships by New Mexico, New Mexico State and Colorado State .
“We need to learn to put a full four quarters together. It's going to be rough next week, but win, lose, or draw, we're going to get better.
“They graduated one skilled position player off that team last year and only three linemen, so they have everyone back. It's going to be tough and we need to get in better shape and do a better job. We also need a packed stadium.”

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