Alex Waggoner’s 73rd goal of the season was also the most meaningful goal in the heretofore modest history of the Santa Fe High School boys soccer program.
Waggoner, a junior forward, authored a performance for the ages on Friday night, scoring all of Santa Fe’s goals, the last one coming late in the first overtime as the top-seeded Demons won the Class 5A state championship with a rousing 4-3 victory over No. 3 Sandia at the UNM Soccer Stadium.
“At the end of the day,” Waggoner said, “we wanted to prove ourselves and show that we’re the best.”
In the 89th minute, Waggoner, from 20 yards out, collected the ball on his right foot and pounded a shot into the left corner, igniting a huge celebration for the Demons.
The golden goal handed Santa Fe (22-1) its first state title. The Demons had never really sniffed an appearance in a championship game in this sport until this fall.
Santa Fe toppled three Albuquerque schools — Volcano Vista, Atrisco Heritage, then Sandia — in the postseason. Which, to hear Demons coach Chris Eadie tell it, was poetic.
“I think we’re tired of being Albuquerque’s little brother,” Eadie said. “We put ourselves on the map tonight.”
Sandia (17-4) had three leads before a large crowd at UNM.
Christian Baker scored less than three minutes in for a 1-0 lead. Connor Cousins chipped home a long goal over Santa Fe goalkeeeper Ethan Earnest — who had strayed far from his net — in the 20th minute into an unoccupied goal, and Cousins added another in the 36th.
Each time, it was Waggoner who answered for Santa Fe.
In the 15th minute, his rebound goal tied the match. Then in the 28th, a top corner shot. And two minutes into the second half, Waggoner, a transfer from Taos, completed the hat trick.
“He’s just, like, legendary,” said teammate Jack Joseph, a senior midfielder. “I have yet to find someone in the state who can stop him.”
Sandia later had the better of things in the first OT. But it was Waggoner who finished it. He had eight postseason goals.
“I had space, and when you have a good amount of space, you usually know they’re gonna fall for the fake,” he said. “So I took another touch, and put it in the bottom of the corner.”
Not since 1982 had a state runner-up scored three goals and lost in the final.
“In my opinion, we outplayed them, we just couldn’t finish our shots,” Matadors coach Ryan Sanchez said.
As recently as a couple of days ago, Sandia was ranked ahead of Santa Fe on the MaxPreps.com rankings.
“They were tired of being treated that way,” Eadie said. “They were tired of not having the respect that we deserve.”
SANTA FE 4, SANDIA 3 (OT)
Sandia 3 0 0 — 3
Santa Fe 2 1 1 — 4
Scoring: San, 2nd, Christian Baker (Connor Cousins); SF, 15th, Alex Waggoner (Michael Wissman); San, 20th, Cousins; SF, 28th, Waggoner (Ivan Lozano); San, 36th, Cousins; SF, 42nd, Waggoner; SF, 89th, Waggoner (Lozano). Shots on goal: San 14; SF 12. Saves: San, Jonathan Woods 6; SF, Ethan Earnest 8. Corners: San 6; SF 3. Records: SF 22-1; S 17-4.