Scorps set to battle Goddard at state tourney

Karl Schneider
Farmington's Nathan Valencia takes a shot against Hope Christian on Oct. 23 at Hutchison Stadium in Farmington.

FARMINGTON – The Farmington boys soccer team is back in the No. 4 seed and hoping for a better result than last year, when the Scorps were also seeded No. 4 in the 5A boys bracket and were upset by No. 12 St. Pius X 2-1 in overtime.

Farmington head coach Byron Farnsworth said last year’s unexpectedly early exit from the state tournament has been on the minds of the team's coaches, and they’ve been conveying the message not to overlook No. 12 Goddard in the quarterfinals Friday afternoon.

“The biggest thing we’ve talked about is, any given day anyone can beat anyone else,” Farnsworth said. “Our focus is on our preparation, and we’re only worrying about us. We’re definitely in a better position than we were last year.”

This season is the third time in four years the Scorps have been seeded fourth and the fifth straight year the team has received a bye into the quarterfinals.

But when the Scorps (14-4-2) begin play in the tournament, they’ll be searching for their first trip past the quarterfinals since 2012.

Standing in Farmington’s way is Goddard, after the Rockets (10-9-1) upset No. 5 Centennial 1-0 last week.

Powering the Rockets is junior Jonathan Sanchez, who has scored 28 of the team’s 47 goals this season.

“We had the opportunity to see them early in the season at the Los Alamos tournament,” Farnsworth said. “They have one player that has a lot of their goals, and at the high school level, that usually means he has a lot of speed and athleticism. We’re going to need to do a good job of playing aggressive.”

Entering the tournament, Farmington ranks third in the state with 85 goals scored, with 79 goals coming on assists.

Along with their high-powered attack, the Scorps have proven they can generate offense with multiple positions as six players have recorded seven or more goals this season, led by sophomore Yosmar Ruiz with 19.

“I think that’s a huge thing for us this year,” Farnsworth said of the team’s balanced attack. “We’ve got a lot of simple goals and have had a lot of kids getting goals because we’re unselfish when we need to be and selfish when we need to be.”

But the Scorps are more than a scoring threat from all over the field. They also rank second in the state in fewest goals allowed after seeing opponents find the back of the net just 17 times this season.

To pick up the win and move on to the semifinals, Farnsworth said the biggest thing the Scorps will need to do is have faith in each other and the work they’ve put in all season.

“Trust the training — that’s the biggest thing,” Farnsworth said. “We’re fit, we’re healthy, they just have to trust their teammates and trust their training.”

Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.