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Unbeaten early starts has Taos on the right road to win initial state championships in boy’s soccer and football

Tigers have never done so in these sports but has been stellar in hoisting recent state championship trophies in cross country and track and field

By Arnie Leshin 
Arnie Leshin

Take your pick, boy’s soccer or football, two sports that Taos has never won state championships in.

But the Tigers have never started the season off 5-0 in each sport. They have won state titles in recent years in both boys and girls track and field, and in cross country. But when it comes to soccer, the boys have never made

it to the state finals, and made it once, in 1984, to the football final by going 6-6 and losing to Albuquerque Hope Christian in the title game.

Now the boys are off to a blazing start. The soccer team has put in 35 goals and have allowed but one in a 2-1 win over Capital, which was its biggest test so far. All the other matches were Tiger shutouts, 4-0 over Robertson, 10-0 over East Mountain, 9-0 over East Mountain, and 10-0 over Bernalillo.

In his fifth year as head coach, Michael Hensler is enjoying this one.

\“We’ve got a good mix,” he said, “10 sophomores, five seniors, four juniors, one freshman and one 8th grader. They play very well together, it’s an unselfish group, and we’re hoping to continue this.”.

The starting goalkeeper is sophomore Milo Collignon and Hensler feels he’s done a splendid job as keeper of the net.

“The other kids are happy to have a solid defense,” said Hensler, “and can be thankful that Milo is part of it.”

Coming into this season, Hensler had won 47 times, lost 28, and tied twice. So far this season, Taos also handed Robertson a 4-0 setback, and that’s been the lone loss to the Cardinals in six matches

Capital, too, under new head coach Luis de la Cruz, is 2-3 but it could have gone either way. Not only did it bow by one goal to the Tigers, but also lost 1-0 against visiting Rio Rancho (7-1) on Tuesday. It was scoreless after the first half, and the Rams scored the clincher late in the match.

Same thing with Taos. Tied at 1-1 at halftime, the Tigers, too, came on with a late goal to win out. The Jags also opened the season by nipping Santa Fe Prep, 2-1, but won handily over Grants, 10-0.

St. Michael’s, which is in District 2-3A with Robertson, is 4-2-1, and faces the Cards on October 2. Friday, the Horsemen are home to Portales (0-4) at 3 p.m.

Santa Fe High is sailing along at 5-1, and will play host to Taos on Sept. 18. After opening with a 3-2 win over St. Michael’s, the Horsemen prevailed by the same score in the next game, and that’s the lone Demons defeat. They have totaled 25 runs and have yielded only three.

Now comes Saturday’s approximate 5-hour trip to Santa Teresa, which is right near the Mexico border. It’s listed on Airport Road, but far from the same one in Santa Fe. It, too, has had some close matches and have come away with 13 goals and have allowed 12 via 4-3-1 record. The game is scheduled for 2 p.m.

Taos’ football team also sports a 5-0 mark after opening with a 57-21 rout at St. Michael’s. The Tigers have been running up the points and playing an aggressive defense under head coach Art Abreau, Jr.

It’s too early to say, but Taos would like nothing better than joining its track and field and cross country teams by hoisting more state championship trophies.

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