Thursday, September 23, 2010

Warriors Romp In Opener 41-0

By Nicky Romero

SOCORRO -- The 2010 Socorro High School Warriors football team, having high hopes to make a return visit to the state final game at the end of the season, got off to a running start last Friday night, rolling to a 41-0 win against West Las Vegas.
The Warriors (1-0) are ranked fourth in Class 3A by the New Mexico High School Coaches and the KOB-TV polls. The Dons were 2-8 last season.
Socorro's shotgun offense stayed on the ground and it paid off. The Warriors backfield was kept busy all night and running almost at will, Socorro scored all six touchdowns by the rush.
Coach Damien Ocampo still was not completely satisfied with the win. Ocampo said, “I thought it was sloppy a little bit. Obviously, both teams were a little bit sloppy to start off with. I don't think we hit our stride until mid-second quarter.”
Ocampo was also concerned about three key Warrior injuries, but he is optimistic that they will be ready for the next game.
“We did have some bumps and bruises today,” Ocampo said. “Hopefully, we take care of them. That's going to be the key this year. We have to stay healthy. If we can't stay healthy, it's going to be a short season for us. We are not as deep as we have been.”
Quarterback Zach Esquivel said, “We made some mistakes, but overall we played pretty good. The effort was there. Our defense did real good holding them to a goose egg.”
Socorro's James Thornton returned the opening kickoff 92 yards for the score, but it was called back because of a facemask penalty.
The Warriors started on the 15 and two plays later, Esquivel handed the ball off to Thornton on a right-side sweep. Thornton then raced 80 yards for the score and the Warrios led 7-0 with 31 seconds elapsed.
Sophomore kicker Zack Binger had kicking honors with six out of seven extra points and kickoffs with five touchbacks.
The Dons started their first drive at their own 37-yard line. The Don's senior running back Jayvis Madrano was able to run for two first downs. But the drive was stalled at the 40-yard line, thanks to big defensive plays by Warriors' senior linebacker Matthew Lopez, safety Esquivel, and junior safety Aaron McDaniel, who broke up the 4th down pass play.
Socorro got the ball back on loss of downs at the 39-yard line with 6:26 left in the first quarter. Because of two illegal procedure penalties, the Warriors faced a first and 20 situation. Senior Jorge Rivas swept around for 26 yards, plus 15 yards tacked on for a Dons' face mask penalty. McDaniel then rushed for 8 yards and Esquivel picked up 7 yards on a keeper and the ball on the 15 yard line. Now facing 4th and 3 yards at the 15 yard line, Thorton carried the ball to the 1 yard line and a first down. On the next play, Esquivel finished the drive on a quarterback keeper up the middle for a Socorro 14-0 lead at the 3:50 mark of the first quarter.
The Warriors' defense was able to keep Medrano and company in check for much of the night, limiting them to short rushing yardage and causing havoc in the Don's backfield.
Socorro added a lone score in the second quarter with 4:39 on the clock as McDaniel scored on a 5-yard run for a 21-0 lead.
“We saw them lining up and we kind of got them in a situation that we felt real good about and what we could do against them,” Ocampo said. “We knew we had them outmanned. It was really good play calling and execution by the team to get on the board right away.”
The Warriors rushed for three more touchdowns in the second half. With 7:38 in the 3rd quarter, McDaniel added to his scoring by running for a 12 yard touchdown.
Ocampo was able to substitute the younger players and give other players some game experience in different positions in the third quarter.
Ibrahim Maiga was given the quarterback reins in the third quarter and did not miss a beat. Driving the Warriors' offense down the field, Maiga finished the drive with a 3-yard touchdown run with 7:21 left in the third.
Sophomore fullback Damian Baca finished the scoring in the fourth quarter. With a slight mixup in the backfield, Baca instinctively grabbed the ball away from teammate Maiga and scooted 65 yards for the final score of the game.
“Offensively, we made a lot of blocking mistakes up front, but I think we grew a lot from our scrimmage to game one,” Ocampo said.
“We are pretty stout on defense. We are really stressing perfect effort out there and playing hard. Right now, I'm real proud of Coach Zimmerly and the rest of our coaches are doing with that defense. If the kids keep playing hard and we understand our techniques better, I think we have a bright future.”
Ocampo and his team were greeted with one of the largest and most enthusiastic first game crowds in Socorro football history.
“I'm real proud of the community, kudos to the community, outstanding. I've never seen an opening game like this. They were packed in. I have yet to see an opening night like that. That was unbelievable. I want to thank the fans for coming out like that.”
The Warriors travel to Ruidoso on Friday, September 3rd. Game time is 7 p.m.
Ruidoso won its season opener 22-14 against Cobre.

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