The lessons learned during Socorro’s loss to Robertson in the Class 3A state semifinals in November are fueling the Warrior’s drive to come back better than ever. Even eight months later, Socorro’s loss to Robertson brings up some hard feelings.
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Even almost eight months later, Socorro’s loss to Robertson in the Class 3A state semifinals brings up hard feelings.

“It left us empty inside,” said senior line­backer Cade Moreland. “It left a hole there.”

The Warriors (10-2) came into the game as the No. 2 seed against the No. 3-seeded Cardinals, and Socorro held a precarious 13-12 lead at halftime.

But the players seemed to know that the game was already slipping away, said senior quarter­back Marcus Armijo.

“It was tough, tough losing like that,” he said. “You could tell in the locker room, we were pretty down. We were trying to fight, but we didn’t know what was going to happen next.”

What happened next left the returning Warriors looking for some redemp­tion this season.

“Broken,” senior line­backer Brian Armijo said of the team’s spirit following the game. “Heartbroken.

“That was the year. This year, we’re being tougher and having a better mental­ity and making sure not to underestimate anybody.”

Indeed, the lessons learned on that fateful day in late November are fueling Socorro’s drive to come back better than ever, even if the two star players from last year’s squad have graduated.

“I think that we’ll never depend on one or two players so much as we did last year,” Moreland said. “We’ll win it as a team and not just two good players.”

It has been driving the players to excel this season

“It motivated us for sure,” Marcus Armijo said. “We don’t want to feel like that again. I think that will help us this season a lot. We talk about and we’ll joke about it and stuff, but that motivates us for that last year a lot.”

Although it is still early in summer workouts, the players are confident that they’ll be returning to the playoffs and be even better this season.

“Teams haven’t been able to run on us. I think we’ll keep it that way,” Moreland said. “The Socorro blood is in us. The will to want to knock somebody down. We feed off the pressure. That’s what we want.”

Seeing young players assuming new roles gives the team confidence, Brian Armijo said.

“It’s going to be tough to find new people but already seeing results in the DBs (defensive backs) and the line,” he said. “We’re just toughening them up. We’re going to be ballers and that’s what’s to be expected.”

It’s an attitude passed down from the coaching staff, he said.

“It’s about our coaches and where we come from and the people we surround ourselves with,” Brian Armijo said. “It’s the mind­set that we have. Coach (Damien Ocampo) has a thing called DEA: disci­pline, effort and attitude.

“That’s very important to us. We take that very seriously. We try 100 per­cent, so we give a lot of effort. We have a great attitude. We’re not sad or gloomy. We must be happy to do what we do.”

It has helped the team develop a special bond, Marcus Armijo said.

“I think we’re pretty close. We’re good with each other. Good chemis­try,” he said. “I think that will help a lot and is the best for our team. I think we’re going to go far this season. Just like any other season, this is the one that we’re going to go far.”

Moreland will accept just one thing: “A ring,” he said.

Glen Rosales for El Defensor Chieftain