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The Bulldog soccer team evened its early record in decisive fashion Tuesday at the Mack Chase Athletic Complex, topping the Warriors of Ruidoso by a final of 8-3.

The Artesia boys came out firing on their home turf, compiling a 4-0 lead at the half, then putting the brakes on slightly but still cruising to the solid win in the second 40 minutes.

“It was a great win for us,” head coach Phillip Jowers said today. “Bobo (John Baca) had a hat trick, and we had a lot of guys play well.”

David Anaya logged the ‘Dogs first goal of the night just 5:22 into the contest on a hard shot into the corner of the net, and Baca followed just one minute later to make it 2-0.

Baca completed his offensive onslaught with goals at the 11:37 and 20:29 marks, and Carlos Martinez would post a pair – including a successful penalty kick – and Cesar Leyva and Ian Robson one apiece in the second half.

Ruidoso was able to get on the board early in the final 40 and would score twice more before game’s end as the Bulldogs worked their bench onto the field.

With the dominance the ‘Dogs displayed in the early goings of the bout, it was clear the team could have mercy-ruled the Warriors, but Jowers saw no point – and no good lesson for his athletes – in running up the score.

“The thing that frustrates me about soccer right now around the state is that teams are so eager to 10-0 people,” said the coach. “If you’re beating somebody, you don’t need to 10-0 them. We’re working on our game, trying to accomplish things on the field other than just scoring goals.

“When the second half came around, that’s when I like to give some of the subs a little bit more time on the field and even put some players in different positions to let them get comfortable with playing somewhere else. We’ve been on the other end of those mercy rules, and that’s not what we’re about and not what I want to instill in my boys.”

Starting keeper Aaron Natera went unscored upon in the opening half with four saves to his credit, and Jowers was pleased with the second-half play of eighth-grader goalie Santi Gonzales, as well, who logged 12 saves.

The ‘Dogs are today en route to Gadsden for a 6 p.m. game against the Panthers. They’ll head to Ruidoso Tuesday for a rematch with the Warriors before returning home Sept. 9 to host Portales.

“We’re looking forward to playing Gadsden,” said Jowers. “This one’s going to be probably equivalent to a Hobbs game for us. They’re one of the harder teams on our schedule prior to district.

“But as long as the boys are focused and we execute the stuff we know how to do and connect on our passes, we should be fine. That’s going to be the key is just connecting those passes and getting it in the back of the net, along with focusing on one game at a time, which is the big thing I’m preaching to them right now – we don’t need to worry about what these other schools are doing. We just need to focus on Gadsden today and then move on.”