FARMINGTON — The Aztec boys soccer team has had a knack for winning close games lately.
For the third straight contest, the Tigers (6-1) were able to win a one-score game, this time by besting the Bernaliilo Spartans 4-3 at Lydia Rippey Elementary School in Aztec on Saturday.
Bailey Watkins led the way for Aztec with three goals, pushing his season total to an amazing 16 scores in just six games.
Riley Barber also scored and now has seven goals this season.
Aztec coach Stephen Scales said Watkins and Barber have been tremendous for him so far, but the rest of the team has contributed to the offensive success.
"They're our captains, as well, so they're leading the team on and off the field," Scales said of Watkins and Barber. "They have a nose for the goal. But there's nine other players on the pitch that's helping them get those goals."
Barber broke a 2-2 second half tie with a score. Then Watkins finished his hat trick for good measure to make it 4-2. Bernalillo scored late, then Aztec put some pressure on the Spartans' netminder in the closing minutes of the game but could not add a fifth goal.
Scales said if his team can cut down on the mental breakdowns, it should be able to win with some breathing room more often.
"When we put our subs in, they need to be more sharp," he said. "Our subs aren't getting the full playing time in, so when they get in, it takes them a little while for things to click, and sometimes it costs us. Part of it, too, is we're missing two key starters. Getting them back will give us a bit more team flow."
Those starters, sophomores Rubin Teasyatwho and Dylan Olson, will return for Saturday's road contest against Moriarty.
Farmington picks up first win by beating Bosque 2-0
Scorpions boys soccer coach Byron Farnsworth challenged his players to turn things around following a disappointing run in a Los Alamos tournament last week, and they responded in impressive fashion Saturday afternoon.
Farmington (1-1-2) earned its first win of the season by beating the Bosque Bobcats 2-0 on the road.
Yosmar Ruiz and Carlos Medina each scored inside of the game's first 20 minutes. Farmington's defense and Scorps rookie goalkeeper Memphis Toledo held Bosque at bay from there.
"We were down to 10 men after an injury, so we played 10 for a good 60 minutes today, which makes (the win) that much more impressive," Farnsworth said. "I'm very happy with the way our boys played."
The Scorps went 0-2 in last week's Los Alamos Invitational. Farnsworth said he challenged his team to play better in all facets of the game, and that's what it did against Bosque.
"They definitely answered the bell," he said. "We preached simple finishes on offense. Not trying to pull off miraculous, kill-the-ball goals. And we did that. The passing was excellent."
Ruiz also picked up an assist in addition to his goal. Joaquin Gonzalez assisted on the Medina goal.
Farmington will compete in the Albuquerque Academy Invitational at Academy High School, which runs Thursday through Saturday.
Piedra Vista downed by Rehoboth Christian 6-1
The Panthers fell to 1-6 on the season following a 6-1 loss to the Rehoboth Christian Lynx on the road Saturday afternoon.
Head coach Pat Denney was away with a family emergency, and assistant coach Shaun Taylor could not be reached for comment.
PV visits Durango (1-1) Tuesday at 5 p.m.