A dominating performance was put on by the Warriors during its annual homecoming game on September 27. The visiting Shiprock Chieftains were doomed from the opening kickoff fumble as Socorro went on to win 56-7.
“The defense played very well tonight,” Head Coach Damien Ocampo said. “We had a tough time offensively early on because the other team was doing a great job of switching up fronts. We figured they were going to blitz a lot but it took some time as coaches to figure out how to counteract there schemes. We had to switch up plays that we normally like to run in order to adapt against that larger defensive front.”
Shiprock had an opening kickoff fumble that was recovered by sophomore Jordan Armijo. Senior Zavier Rosas brought it home with a nice seam route to open up the scoring and make it 7-0. Another fumble recovery lead to senior Trenton Mcdaniel connecting on a big touchdown throw and had Socorro rolling.
The Warriors did not let up with running back Andrew Garcia moving with a purpose and knocking defenders down left and right. Garcia was the slipperiest man on the field early on.
A two quarterback system was implemented during this individual game with Gates Johnson coming in to give starter Payson Hicks a breather.
“We always want to have two guys ready,” Ocampo said. “He’s (Johnson) been hampered with an injury bug and he’s starting to get over that. Our goal as a team is to have multiple ways we can attack you.”
After a 21-0 first quarter the game got sloppy. Shiprock had a big TD pass that was called back for holding. Pass interference and offsides flags were thrown on both squads. Chieftains quarterback Kaleo Clah broke through in the second to make it 21-7. Socorro responded quickly with a long pass play to Rosas and an Adrian Peterson style run by junior Michael McDaniel in which he was impossible to take down.
“I have to get in the groove of the game,” McDaniel said. “I come out sometimes and mess up by dropping passes so I have to make up for those mistakes with big plays. All you can focus on is the next down which is what our team mentality is. Our defensive was wonderful tonight, that’s what really brought this win home.”
“The key was getting in our opponents face,” Quarterback Payson Hicks added. “Defensively we swarmed to the ball because we knew this team was tough to take down. But we’ve got to get better ever week. This Warriors team is just starting, I can tell you that.”
At halftime Socorro’s homecoming court was presented to the audience with reining king and queen Lino Baca and Zabrino Griego passing the torch to seniors Daven Moore and Julie Hurtgen. The electricity of the crowd resulted in a runaway victory for Socorro as they did not give up a second half score.
This was the first homecoming game that SHS Athletic Director Alex Johnson has overseen for the Warriors.
“Homecoming is always exciting for the kids,” he said. “When you have a tough game like we did last week it’s hard to make sure the guys come back and play four quarters. And they did that very well. But as far as the events, everything was amazing and well put together. I can’t thank everyone that helped put this game on enough. It was so much school spirit and on a personal level just a lot of fun. Our players top to bottom were battling until they heard the whistle every play for our fans.”
Socorro is currently two games up at the top of District 3 standings as the only group with a winning record. They are fourth in the state in 3A with the Dexter Demons leading the way at 5-1. The Warriors have a short week with a Thursday night battle against the Escalante Lobos at 6 p.m. before two more home games against Albuquerque Academy and Hatch Valley on October 10 and 18.