Warren Kurtnaker (9) and Brian Armijo (25) team up for a stop. Russell Huffman | El Defensor Chieftain

Socorro jumped out to a 27-0 first-quarter lead, and the No. 1 Warriors never looked back as they improved to 9-0 with a 41-0 shutout of the Hot Springs Tigers at Eddie Castaneda Field on Oct 21.

Junior wide receiver Alex Amaro scored on the Warriors’ first play from scrimmage when he turned a reverse into a 65-yard touchdown as he sped around the left side of the Hot Springs’ defense. It was the start of a big night for Amaro, who added an interception before his second-half score on a swing pass from Marcus Armijo.

Armijo also had a stellar night as he passed for three scores and ran for a fourth on a 51-yard stride to paydirt.

Warren Chewiwi gathered in Armijo’s first touchdown, Brian Armijo turned a swing pass into the second score, and Amaro notched his second TD for the third strike. Kaden Dow had four successful PAT kicks.

The Warriors kept up their misdirection offense with another reverse, and Colton Dow struck home on the play.

While it sounds efficient, the Warriors did have some problems holding onto the ball and switching out starters for younger players also slowed the game down.

“I don’t like the 50-point rule,” Ocampo said. “You get 50 points on somebody, and then your kids don’t get to play. We’ve got a lot of kids out here that worked their butts off all week, and it’s hard when you’re calling a game, and you want to move the ball. You want to keep the game going, too.”

After jumping out to a quick 27-0 lead in the first quarter, things got a little sloppy and slowed down the Warriors’ pace, but behind the scenes, substitutions were being made, and Ocampo was pleased with his starters.

“I’m happy with the way our number ones did. I think there were some things we could do better. But for the most part, I’m happy with their performance,” Ocampo said.

The Warriors are making history, and a win against Cobre (Bayard) on Saturday will give Ocampo five straight seasons without a district loss. The seniors of 2022 have never lost a conference matchup, and the Indians represent Socorro’s fabled “trap game.”

Cobre is 4-5 overall and 2-0 in district play, with a 31-16 win over Hot Springs and a 26-23 loss to Hatch Valley. Socorro blanked both teams 55-0 and 41-0, but the Indians have done some exciting things, including giving No. 2 Robertson a run for its money in a 20-7 loss.

The Playoff Picture

Socorro simply needs to take care of business against Cobre and avoid injuries. A win over the Indians should assure the Warriors a first-round playoff bye.

That’s should and not definite because New Mexico uses the MaxPreps poll to help determine the state tournament. In that poll, Socorro is No. 3, but in the New Mexico Coaches Poll, they are ranked number one.

The MaxPreps poll has football fans scratching their heads because No. 2 St. Michaels beat No. 1. Robertson 28-20.

While there is always room for debate on who should be ranked number one, Socorro, Robertson, Saint Michaels and Raton are the major title contenders, with Ruidoso considered a dark horse in the race.