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On paper, it was a tough weekend for the Bulldog soccer team. The squad came up short of both Capital and Santa Fe High by identical scores of 6-1 in The City Different to drop to 1-5 on the season.

But the ‘Dogs are a young team just learning how to compete together early in the year, and when that’s the case, victories don’t always have to reflected on the scoreboard. Artesia became just the second team this season to post a goal against defending state champ Capital Friday, and the team maintained their composure through a rather one-sided officiating performance Saturday to go 1-2 with Santa Fe High in the second half.

Those are the sorts of things first-year head coach Phillip Jowers is focusing on as he works to mold his program.

“Right now, we’re just looking at the immediate future,” Jowers said Saturday. “We’re going from game to game, worrying about ourselves, and focusing only on what we can control, which is ourselves.”

The coach was pleased with his team’s overall performance Friday against a veteran Capital club.

“They played really, really well considering everybody on that team was pretty much a senior,” Jowers said. “They’re the defending state champs and were bigger than us by quite a bit. Three of the six goals they scored on us, there just wasn’t a whole lot we could do.

“When they’re crossing the ball, it doesn’t matter how high you can jump, a 6-foot senior is going to get to the ball before a 5-foot-6 ninth-grader can. But our boys played a complete game and a physical game.”

Against the Demons Saturday, Artesia had a devil of a time getting calls to go their way. Down 4-0 at the half, the ‘Dogs regrouped and came out fighting in a second half that would have seen them match Santa Fe 1-1 had the Demons not been given a free goal on a questionably penalty kick.

“We ended up with two kids getting yellow cards, and the officiating was just really poor,” Jowers said. “But we have to figure out how to play a complete game every time. We came out flat in the first half, but we picked it up in the second.”

Christian Lopez accounted for the ‘Dogs’ goal Friday against Capital and Cesar Romero scored Saturday against Santa Fe High on a header off the cross.

The ‘Dogs will continue their four-game road trip Tuesday in Carlsbad with a 6 p.m. bout against the Cavemen.

“I think that game is going to be a good game,” said Jowers. “We’re just looking to focus on what we need to do, focus on playing Carlsbad and putting together another complete game like we did against Capital.”