It has taken 11 years, but Taos has finally snapped a 10-game losing streak to the Capital Jaguars, beating them 2-1 on their home pitch in Santa Fe Sept. 8.
Well, it seems as though the thorn in the foot has been removed. It has taken 11 years, but Taos has finally snapped a 10-game losing streak to the Capital Jaguars, beating them 2-1 on their home pitch in Santa Fe Sept. 8.
After finishing first at their home tournament with a three-game sweep of their opponents, Aug. 31-Sept. 1, the team hit the road for the first time this season to take on their former district foes - to try yet again to break the spell and erase a longstanding skid that began in 2007.
That year, under the guidance of coach Jake Mossman, the Tigers were district champions and were regularly pitted against juggernauts, such as Los Alamos and Capital. In most of those years, the difference was a mere point or two.
But in 2012, the Jaguars handed the Tigers their biggest loss. The 5-0 final was one of five losses that year and it happened in the season opener at the relatively new Taos Eco Park . It was also the debut game for head coach Casey Tonrey. In 2013 another loss by the Tigers was negated due to a rules violation that ultimately gave Taos a win by forfeit.
This year was different. All knotted up at 1-1 at the half, the Tigers clamped down on defense in the second half and pumped in a single goal to claim victory. Milo Collignon was credited with the win, garnering four saves in the game and allowing his first goal in the last seven games dating back to 2017.
With momentum and confidence, Taos carried their newfound team strength into their next game against the Bernalillo Spartans Sept. 11. A nearby lightning strike slightly delayed the start of the game, but a half rainbow graced the teams as they hastily completed their warmups.
Lightning would strike in a metaphoric way a short time later as the Tigers would land their first punch just two minutes into the fray. Suddenly, it was raining soccer balls (still metaphorically) on the Spartan goalkeeper as an additional four shots from Taos found the back of the net to the tune of 5-0 at the half.
Five more goals in the second half ended the game at 10-0 due to the New Mexico Activities Association's mercy rule that ends a match with a 10-point difference.
The win moves the Tigers to 5-0 on the season, surpassing a 4-0 start Taos earned in 2015 when they went 16-3-1 overall and finished as the state runner-up in class A/4A. The barrage also lifts the Tigers to the top of the class 4A rankings with 35 goals scored so far.
Up next for the Tigers is an away game today (Sept. 13) against the Santa Fe Prep Blue Griffins (0-3 overall). Game time is 3 p.m.
The Santa Fe swing continues with another visit to the City Different as coach Michael Hensley and his squad take on the Monte del Sol Dragons at 5 p.m. on Saturday (Sept. 15). Taos returns one more time to the state capitol for a big-school showdown versus the Santa Fe High Demons Tuesday, Sept. 18.
The Tigers return to Taos Eco Park Sept. 20-21 when they welcome the St. Michael's Horsemen and Oak Grove Classical Academy (Albuquerque) Owls. District play begins with a home game against the Los Alamos Hilltoppers Oct. 9.