Socorro bounced into the win column in a big way on Aug. 25 as the Warriors swamped Santa Fe Indian 50-0 in a game that ended at halftime due to the mercy rule.
It was a complete turnaround from week one, where the Warriors had communication problems and turned over the ball in a 28-13 loss to No. 1 Robertson.
It’s rare for Socorro head coach Damien Ocampo to walk away from a game without pointing out some areas that need correcting, but there was little to criticize.
“Execution was the name of the game. We executed very well tonight,” Ocampo said. “I mean, we did so much better. We stepped up in so many ways. The win was good, but we have got to keep getting better. We’ll get nothing but tougher opponents from here on out.”
There were plenty of bright spots for the Warriors Friday night, and several moments belonged to underclassmen like freshman Nazario Silva opening the contest with a big kickoff return and fellow nine-grader Chase Boykin closing it out with his first varsity touchdown.
Silva’s return set up a short field, and Alex Amaro punched into the end zone with 10:15 remaining in the first quarter. The Warriors’ biggest bobble on the night followed on the extra point kick, but Lee pulled the low snap in and outran defenders to paydirt and an 8-0 lead for Socorro.
Big pass plays between Isaiah Ocampo and Kaden Dow and Lee set Ocampo’s scoring run, and Dow kicked the first of his six successful point-after kicks.
The Warrior forced the Braves to punt away their next possession, and Amaro’s return down the near side involved some tip-toeing down the white stripe as he scored from 60 yards. Socorro’s defense got even nastier with a forced fumble that Jeremiah Garza recovered.
A 15-yard run by Boykin set up a two-yard Cenyon Scarborough and signaled the game would be a runaway as the Warrior took a 29-0 lead with 1:53 remaining in the first quarter.
The Braves hurt their cause with a short punt, and Scarborough got an opportunity to field general the short drive, and he made the most of it with a 12-yard scoring strike to Jake Angel.
Outside linebacker Zach Griego provided the next opportunity for the Warriors when he jumped on a loose ball, and Ocampo’s strike to Dow made it a 43-0 game, and there was still 10:38 to play in the first half.
Ocampo hooked up with Lee a couple of times to close out the game, and the sophomore made a circus catch between two defenders to give Boykin a chance at his first touchdown. The freshman showed his field awareness as he read his blocking and switched from an outside run with an inside cut-up field to score.
With 4:34 remaining, the Warrior’s biggest task was to avoid injuries before the half was over and the mercy rule was applied. Socorro elected to run out the clock with its next possession.
“I thought the defense played well tonight, and they shot the gaps and created turnovers,” Ocampo said.
Up next for the Warriors is a road date with Class 2A No. 6 Estancia (0-2) on Aug. 31 (7 p.m.), and the Bears are off to a slow start with 52-22 (Texico) and 49-12 (Eunice), but nobody has put them to bed early.
“The guys are stepping up, and they took practice seriously this week. We have a long way to go because we will be tested next week,” Ocampi said.
Even this early in the season, the state playoffs are already being eyed, and Ocampo feels No.3 Socorro will be a part of the mix along with St. Michael’s (2-0) at No. 1 and Robertson (2-0) at No. 2.
“It’s going to be a banger next week, so I’m excited about the growth. I feel like if we keep improving, we will be in the playoff conversation at the end,” Ocampo said.