Scorpions oust Tigers in 5A opener
Erik Quintana drives home game winner in final minutes
- Aztec held a 2-1 lead in the second half, but couldn't hold on for the victory.
- The 11th-seeded Tigers finished the season with a 9-10-2 record.
- Farmington advanced and will face third-seeded St. Pius at 1 p.m. Thursday in Bernalillo.
FARMINGTON — In a hard-fought match that seemed to be destined for overtime, Farmington’s Erik Quintana scored the deciding goal in the final two minutes, allowing the Scorpions to oust Aztec 3-2 in tonight’s 5A state playoff opener at the Farmington Soccer Complex.
“It was a very tough fight. When the opportunity arises, we take advantage of it,” Quintana said. “(Aztec’s) a really aggressive team. They always give it to us when we’re playing against them.”
Quintana received the ball off a quick pass from Yosmar Ruiz and attacked the left edge of the box for the score.
“It was Yosmar’s help right here. He always seems to know what I like to do,” Quintana said. “He cuts one way, I go the other way to open up space, he plays me through.”
That play marked the climax of a series of sequences in which players on both sides fought and scrapped to do damage.
Both back lines clogged their goalkeeper box, trying to keep the ball away from the net. Both front lines attacked from the outside wings and tried to make something happen on deflections and put-back tries.
Players tussled and pushed each other around in trying to gain possession of the ball.
“The fouls, it’s rough on the body. Sometimes we’re cautious, we look over our shoulders. We’re kind of hesitant to make a move to not get hurt,” said Ruiz, who got the wind knocked out him after a collision in the second half.
Sam Parks gave the 11th-seeded Tigers hope, scoring a go-ahead goal about midway through the second half, making to 2-1 Aztec.
“We had some momentum going. You feel that. You feel that excitement, that intensity,” Aztec coach Stephen Parks said.
But the sixth-seeded Scorpions, who clinched another district title this season, stormed back.
Will Knight scored the equalizer off a free kick before Quintana knocked in the game winner.
It was a dramatic, hard-fought battle between two District 1-5A foes. Although Farmington has now scored 73 goals in 2017, the Scorpions have only scored seven goals in their three matches against the Tigers.
Aztec’s season ended at 9-10-2.
“It absolutely is a gut punch,” Stephen Parks said. “It’s probably a little more tough to lose a game of this intensity. But overall, I couldn’t be more proud of these guys.”
Farmington (15-4-2) will face third-seeded St. Pius in the 5A quarterfinals at 1 p.m. Thursday in Bernalillo.
Today's playoff soccer scores
Farmington 3, Aztec 2
Los Lunas 7, Bloomfield 1
Hope Christian 10, Navajo Prep 0
Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.