Farmington High will play for a chance to win consecutive 4A boys’ state soccer state championship this afternoon and a third blue trophy in four years.
No. 4 Farmington took care of business against No. 8 Capital in the state semifinals Friday at the APS Soccer Complex in Albuquerque, sending the Scorpions to the 4A state title game today against No. 2 Chaparral, who beat No. 3 Los Alamos 1-0 in overtime Friday.
The Scorpions scored in the first half when Jermey Kelpac found the net once again. It was the only goal Farmington needed to take a 1-0 win against the Jaguars, who reached the state semifinal by upsetting No. 1 Albuquerque Academy 3-1 on Thursday.
“We are well-prepared and excited for the opportunity to play for the title,” said FHS first-year head coach Ryan Atkinson.
Klepac’s goal was set up when Naeem Begay hit a nice crossing pass that deflected off of Scorpion Omar Romero before finding the foot of Klepac.
“Jermey smashed a shot from six yards out and buried it,” Atkinson said.
With the traditional powerhouse teams such as Belen, Los Alamos, St. Pius X and Albuquerque Academy all eliminated, the Scorps know it is their time to shine and establish a dynasty with a win today.
“It is a big opportunity. We have a lot of confidence right now with all of the success we have had, and it is going a long way,” Atkinson said.
Atkinson would become the third coach in four years to win a state title with Farmington if the Scorps can beat Chaparral.
“It speaks to the willingness our guys have to work in the offseason and to work as a team,” Atkinson said. “It could be hard for some teams to stay motivated to keep working for different coaches who want to do different things, but our guys have that determination at FHS.”
Despite graduating a huge group of seniors from last year’s state championship team, this year’s Scorpions have grown together as a unit throughout a season that saw plenty of ups and downs with a brutal non-district schedule.
With the growing pains in the past, this year’s team is trying to make a name of their own among Farmington’s championship-winning squads.
Farmington hopes to have a home-crowd advantage today when the game kicks off at
3:30 p.m.
“Chaparral has a longer drive than our fans do to get to the game,” Atkinson said. “We hope to see a ton of fans out here in green to cheer on these guys who have worked so hard.”