As the six seed entering the state championships the Warriors held a home game in the round of 12 on November 2 against the East Mountain Timberwolves. The boys took care of business to the tune of 4-0 and earned the right to move on to the quarterfinals at the Bernalillo Soccer Complex.
It took just a few minutes before sophomore Hezekiah Oxford found the back of the net. Another quick score almost happened on the next play when East Mountain keeper Zane Randall got caught off guard while delivering a place kick outside of the box but the Warriors whiffed the easy opportunity. That was followed by a close header off of a corner. Clearly Randall would be under duress by Socorro’s offense all afternoon.
After sophomore Joshua Reyes was taken down in the box with no foul called junior James Woods scored off the right side. A few minutes later Woods scored again on a strong header to make it 3-0 at the half.
“I feel good about this win,” Woods said. “We played as a unit today after a lot of preparation during the week. After coming out hot we focused more on locking things down and making sure we didn’t make mistakes. Moving forward it’s going to be tough competition but I think we can win with the team we have.”
The rest of the game became a battle of chess in the midfield. Sophomore Scott Bunning was injured twice during hard tackles. The final goal came when senior Jorge Hinojosa was tackled hard in the opponents box and Oxford scored an easy penalty kick.
“We were playing our brand of soccer today,” Hinojosa said. “We locked down mentally and came into this game with a lot of confidence. We’re going to keep the same preparation and state of mind heading into the game against Sandia Prep.”
Once the final whistle blew Head Coach Billy Oxford spoke with the team about how having success on the field is what the boys should believe in every game.
“This win was a relief, but also amid expectations,” he said. “We expect a lot of things going forward and the boys really stepped up today. I was very much impressed with their overall discipline. Everyone played good positionally and didn’t try to play outside of our game plan.”
Oxford also added praise and respect for the East Mountain team, particularly their senior keeper Randall.
“I know the score may be a bit one sided, but they were a very physical team out there today. We really had to push to earn shots. And that keeper is, in my opinion, possibly the best in 3A in the state. He works really hard all game long.”
The loss ends East Mountains season at 5-14 and fourth in District 3 standings. As of press time, the Warriors face off against the third seeded Sandia Prep Sundevils on November 6. Prep beat Socorro during their previous meeting 2-0 at the 2019 Sundevil classic tournament. Should they win the semifinals and championship games will be on November 7 and 8.