The Bulldogs used a corner kick from Cesar Muniz to Rodrigo Nateras for a score with just over 39 minutes in the first half, and used another lightening-fast goal in the second half to hold off the Warriors and win 4-2.
Nateras’ goal set the tone for the entire first half, as the Warriors (0-1-1) found themselves on their heels all the way to the break. Artesia scored two more time – on a breakaway by Jose Lopez and on another corner kick that bounced around before finding its way to the back of the net.
It wasn’t until 27:16 left in the second half that The Warriors got on the board, and it came on a free kick from about 40 yards out.
Armando Gomez sent it into the goal box, where Jose Roque was waiting to head the ball in.
That made the score 3-1, but Artesia’s Aaron Dade struck back within a minute to put his team back up by three goals and stem what could have been a Warrior rally.
“We came out flat and allowed a goal in the first 59 seconds, and then deflated completely in the first half,” said Ruidoso coach Aaron Romero. “Halftime, all I asked of them was to have some pride of themselves and complete.”
Ruidoso got its last score on another set play, this on a corner kick from Gomez to Andres Aguirre, who had just entered the game. Aguirre also used his head to put the ball in the back of the net with 24:45 left.
“I got two scores from guys that are 5-4 and 5-5, with headers. I love it,” Romero said. “Andres scored a goal that way last year, and now he’s right back in it. That’s the first time I’ve played him this season.”
That was the last of the scoring, although Ruidoso had a few close calls near the end.
The loss was disappointing, but Romero knew the loss came against a very good Class 4A team.
“This shows we can compete with anybody,” Romero said. “These guys (Artesia) are undefeated, and have beat Hobbs and Belen. Belen won 4A last year running away.
“Artesia’s got a good team, and we’ve shown we can hang right there with them,” he added. “If we do a few more things right, talk a little more, we’re just as competitive with anybody. Its doesn’t matter who they put on the field.”