Socorro hangs with Silver – for a while

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When the Silver Fighting Colts came to town last Friday night, the Warriors knew they were in for a battle.

Silver is big, fast, deep and talented at every position. For the first 22 minutes of the game, Socorro was up to the challenge and then some. Even though it was down 21-7 with two minutes left in the first half, the home team had shown toughness and resilience against a Colts team known statewide for its physical style of play.

But the last 120 seconds of the second quarter proved to be pivotal for the Colts as they reeled off 21 points to take a 42-7 advantage into the locker room and ultimately a 42-14 win.

Silver improved to 7-2 and 1-0 in District 3-3A play, while Socorro dropped to 5-4 and 1-1.

The Colts didn’t waste much time getting on the scoreboard as they needed only two plays on their first offensive possession to take a 7-0 lead. Quarterback Derek Salas ran it on from 45 yards out on a speed option to give Silver the early advantage with 8 minutes and 25 seconds left in the first quarter.

Socorro was forced to punt on its ensuing drive, and three minutes later Nevada Bencomo rushed for a six-yard touchdown to help extend the Colts’ lead to 14-0.

That’s when the Warriors showed they’ve got a lot of fight in them though, and on the first play of the second quarter Zach Binger hit tight end Ethan Smith for a 15-yard strike to get Socorro’s offense rolling. Senior running back Adam Paz ran it in from 10 yards out a few plays later to help pull the Warriors to within seven with 8:26 remaining in the half.

However, that’s as close as they would get.

Two minutes later, Salas found wide receiver Armando Rodriguez for a 24-yard touchdown to make it 21-7, and after the Warriors couldn’t convert a fourth down play from midfield, the visiting team took full advantage.

Silver wide out C.P. Thompson scored from 21 yards to push the core to 28-7 with 2:13 left in the half, then Bencomo rushed it in from 52 yards out just 48 seconds later to make the score 35-7.

Tyler Crepsin was picked off by Ismael Jaquez on Socorro’s next drive, and Salas found the end zone again with 42 seconds remaining in the half to give Silver a 42-7 advantage.

“We did nothing but prepare for them,” Warriors senior running back Damian Baca said. “We knew they were going to be one of the hardest teams we’ve played all season.”

Paz added a 19-yard scoring run with six minutes left in the fourth to make it 42-14. He finished with 124 rushing yards, two touchdowns and 65 yards receiving, while Baca added 76 rushing yards on 18 carries.

While the score might not suggest as much, Socorro actually played a relatively solid game. It just happened to run into an extremely good football team that was coming off a seven-point loss to top-ranked St. Michael’s on Oct. 26.

“I thought we played really well Xs and Os wise. I just don’t think we tackled well on defense,” Socorro head coach Damien Ocampo said. “We battled, came back on offense and did some good things.

“We just didn’t do the fundamentals right. Everybody this year knows they’ve (Silver) got some ridiculous football players. They are loaded with talent.”

“They are as advertised, but I think we would have played a tighter game if fundamentally we were more sound tonight. You can’t do that against a team like this.”

The loss might be a tough one to swallow, but Socorro still has a road game at Academy on Friday night and a win could solidify it a playoff spot. Currently, www.maxpreps.com has the Warriors as a seven seed and www.nmpreps.com has them anywhere from a five to an eight seed. That doesn’t mean, though, that Socorro can fall asleep at the wheel and expect to cruise to a win in Albuquerque on Friday.

The Chargers are 3-5 on the season and will be coming off a 51-0 loss to St. Mike’s itself, but they’re also jostling for a post-season slot.

“They’re going to be a normal Academy team,” Ocampo said. “Very big, very tall and a lot of speed all over the place. They do a lot of different things.”

Kickoff at Richard Harper Memorial Field on Friday is slated for 7 p.m.