East Mountain High School’s boys’ and girls’ soccer teams did something in the past week that has not happened in quite some time—they both picked up victories in their respective home openers.
East Mountain’s Lady Timberwolves kicked off their season on Aug. 20 with a win at home over Ruidoso. East Mountain’s boys won their Aug. 24 home opener over the Hot Springs Tigers.
“It feels really good,” East Mountain senior Tyler Burnette said about the Timberwolves’ victory—their first in two years.
This is the first fall campaign for New Mexico high school sports since 2019.
East Mountain junior Scott Hofmann’s hat trick helped power the T’Wolves to their 10-1 rout over Hot Springs.
“Most of them were follow-ups,” Hofmann said about his three goals, which all came in the second half. “We did a really good job of getting some through balls, some crosses, and we made their goalie and defense play the ball and that opened up a lot of opportunities.”
Burnette started the T’Wolves’ scoring in the 13th minute when he grabbed a through ball from Bodie Larson, drove into the 18-yard box and hammered the ball past the Hot Springs goalkeeper.
“Body sent it right to my feet, I took a touch and put it right in the side on the far post,” Burnette said.
Four minutes later, Trevor Head punched one in to make it 2-0.
In the 21st minute, Larson nailed the first of his two goals during a scrum in front of the 6-yard area. Larson scored his second goal of the game after taking a cross pass from Burnette in the 34th.
In the 39th, Finn Macduffie scored to give the T’Wolves a 5-0 lead at halftime.
One minute into the second half, Hofmann’s brother Kyle scored from about 15 yards out.
A minute later, Scott Hofmann notched his first goal from about 10 yards out to extend East Mountain’s lead to 7-0. He nailed his next goal—a straight-on blast in front of the 6-yard area—in the 49th.
Hot Springs scored its lone goal with a penalty kick in the 61st.
Hofmann secured the hat trick after a T’Wolves’ free kick bounced around the front of the 6 and he was in the right place to tap it in.
Josiah Vigil rounded out the T’Wolves’ scoring with a close-range shot in the 74th.
“It was a good game for us to work on our technique and our tactics, but hey, it’s a win, we haven’t had a win in a while, so I’m pleased with it,” T’Wolves head coach John Larson said.
The T’Wolves were winless during the condensed, Covid-delayed spring season in March, and they lost a trio of games last weekend at a tournament in Hatch to start the fall campaign.
Larson added, “And here we are again with our masks, almost exactly the same place we were a year ago, but we’re playing.”
The Lady T’Wolves hit the ground running in their season opener against the visiting Ruidoso Lady Warriors, winning possession right from the start and getting first-half goals from Amber Pino and Sierra Larson to capture a 2-0 victory.
“As far as possession, it’s probably our strongest start in the first game of the season since I’ve been here,” Lady T’Wolves head coach John Sabrowski said.
In the 14th minute, Pino threw the ball in from deep in Ruidoso’s territory, and when it came back to her, she launched a high, arcing shot from the left side that got over the outstretched hand of the Lady Warriors’ goalkeeper.
“I threw it in to Sierra and then Sierra passed it back to me, and I was like, let’s go for it, so I just took it,” Pino said of her goal.
With just under a minute left in the first half, Kaylee Baker sent the ball to Pino, who took it inside the 18-yard box. A couple of Ruidoso defenders and their goalkeeper converged on Pino who then passed the ball over to Larson who shot it in.
“Amber drew the keeper to one side, so the keeper was going after Amber and then she saw me open,” Sierra Larson said. “I had a wide-open goal and I tapped it in.”
East Mountain continued attacking in the second half and took several shots, but a couple of them sailed off frame, one hit the upright, and the rest were saved by Ruidoso’s goalkeeper. “It’s a good start to the season,” Sabrowski said. “I’m very happy with how quickly we settled in and how quickly we started passing the ball around, and we played the wings really well.”