SOCORRO, N.M. (KRQE) – The lights, the sounds, and the energy of Friday night football across New Mexico is electric.
Alumni from one New Mexico high school recall when their stands were the place to be.
“When I played this whole stadium was full. The parking lot you couldn’t find a parking spot,” Gary Apodaca said.
‘It’s not like that anymore. We want to bring it back to how it used to be,” Tommy Brayboy said.
In the past few years, the Socorro High School football program has struggled to even put enough players on the field let alone pack the stands.
Brayboy and Apodaca say seeing the Warriors go from one of the best teams in the state to barely having enough backing has been disheartening.
“The support is not where it needs to be for our athletes out here and for our school and our community,” said Apodaca.
Now, these former football players are calling on alumni to pack the stands. They hope Coach Damien Ocampo will help make it happen. After a five-year hiatus, Ocampo, who led the Warriors to the Districts in 2012 is back.
“We are on a collision course with success the only variable is time. We’re going to be alright. We’re going to turn this thing around,” Ocampo said.
It appears they already are. From last season, the team has doubled from about 20 players to around 50 — enough for a varsity and a JV team.
Now the struggling program is facing another hurdle. They say there’s not enough equipment.
“So what us alumni are trying to do is trying to raise money ourselves to try to get enough money for the equipment they need,” Brayboy said.
They need it all — mouth guards, pads and even practice balls, which they say can cost thousands.They’re now looking at tailgating fundraisers to help, which means they need more fans to start showing up and support the team any way they can.
“It would be nice to have a lot of people show up for our games because it will help us out and get us more pumped for our games,” said Justin Angel, senior football player.