W.he half a dozen games remaining in the 2021 high school football season, a little history was made on Wednesday night at Santa Fe High.
Along with 13 straight wins to open their schedule, the girls of the Demons took the landmark # 14 win, beating the visit to Rio Grande 5-0. Team captain Jazzi Gonzalez scored a hat trick while Sonia Goujon and Tatiana Winter each scored a goal to keep Santa Fe undefeated and alone in first place in District 5-5A.
Most importantly, the team set a school record for wins in a single season, leaving the Demons just three goals to 100, which would be another first for the program.
“It’s amazing because we won games 10-0 this year and it wasn’t long ago that this team would lose 10-0 year after year,” said Justin Najaka, Santa Fe High’s head coach. “If you look at our squad with so many younger players – it could be the beginning of a dynasty.”
In his first season with the Demons (14-0, 4-0), Najaka managed a program that rose to the top of Class 5A with dominating games at both ends of the pitch. That was the case again on Wednesday as his club was never seriously threatened.
Goalkeeper Molly Wissman took several shots in her direction but was not in danger. Their defenses frustrated Rio’s offense all night, while the Demons’ offense kept the ball in the Ravens end for most of the game.
It took almost 15 minutes for Santa Fe High to snap the goalless tie. It came after a handful of high quality looks that were turned away by Rio’s defense. This came from Goujon, only one of four seniors in the team. It resulted in a number of even better scoring opportunities, most of which ended in frustration.
Sophomore midfielder Lily Earnest hit the same post twice in one game. She drove in from the right side just outside the penalty area and swept her first shot over the muzzle of the goal, crashing hard from the far post.
The ball found its way back to her and she sent a knee-high shot in the same direction, albeit from a steeper angle. The ball popped off again.
Earnest had an annoyed look on her face as she and her teammates laughed at it as they walked back down the field.
“I couldn’t do this again if I tried,” said Earnest. “I thought, ‘It didn’t just happen.’ ”
As if to prove a point, Goujon did the same when she scored a deflected save shortly thereafter and her follow-up shot landed on the post.
It wasn’t until the 34th minute, when Gonzalez scored her first goal with another deflected save in the penalty area, that things slowly eased. It led to two more goals before half-time, all of them away from the young striker’s foot. Their second goal rolled right through the legs of the Rio Grande goalkeeper, hitting almost the same post that Earnest had done just minutes earlier.
“Getting 14 wins means so much,” said Goujon. “We did something that no one here has done before. I don’t think anyone expected that. “
The Demons remain the only undefeated team in Class 5A. With a huge district match coming up on Saturday in second place Albuquerque High (6-6, 4-1), they can hold a stranglehold with victory # 15 against the Bulldogs 5-5A. This would open a two game head start with only five dates left.
That includes a rare but highly necessary one-two hit against Capital on October 20th to wrap up the regular season. The teams were scheduled to play at the Capital on Saturday, but only four Jaguars players showed up for a game they thought was scheduled two hours later.
Instead of giving up, Najaka agreed to play the teams’ regular game on the same day as the makeup.
“Every game matters to us because we think about how our stand will be when they fix the playoffs,” he said.
On Wednesday, Santa Fe High was # 5 on the MaxPreps Power Rankings for Class 5A. Cibola was a solid number 1, followed by Carlsbad, La Cueva and a club from Rio Rancho with five losses.
“I definitely don’t think we’re getting the respect we deserve,” said Gonzalez. “I mean what about this?”
As if on cue, the demons got a celebratory light show courtesy of the Santa Fe High administration. While the players talked about their victory, the stadium lights went on and off for a few seconds.
“I think this is for us?” said one of them. “We’ll take it.”