Lacrosse may not be one of the most highly regarded sports in the community, but to the players on the Duke City Scorpions, the game means more to them than anything. And when this team is competing in their league championship for the second straight year, seeking to defend their championship from last year, the stakes are even higher.

This Saturday, the undefeated Scorpions will take on the Coronado Thunderbirds from El Paso, TX at Balloon Fiesta Park for all the marbles. The Scorpions have beaten Coronado earlier on this season by a score of 16-1.

In the semifinals, the Scorpions are coming off of a 20-3 win against the Santa Fe Prep Griffins, whereas the Thunderbirds are coming off of a 6-5 overtime win against the Midland Bulldogs.

This season has proven to be a strong one for the Scorpions, outscoring their opponents 200-43 before Saturday’s matchup. Their 200 “Goals For” is the only statistic in the triple digits in their league, the rest are double digits.

The Duke City Scorpions celebrate after their win against Santa Fe Prep. Photo: Jeff Stutz

The players and coaches are excited for the opportunity to showcase why they deserve to be the champions for the second straight year. “Words cannot express how proud I am of the work my team has put in,” said Scorpions head coach Matthew Montoya, who also happens to be a La Cueva alumnus. “Making it to the championship game isn’t by mistake and we have worked hard to strengthen our weaknesses.”

Two of the three captains of the team are La Cueva students, those two being Ben Dallas and Gunther Stutz. Dallas is honored that he was able to share the field with his captains, all in their final year of playing.

“To my fellow captains I would like to say that as a unit we have had our ups and downs, but in the end, we have been very successful in leading our team to accomplish our goals,” said Dallas. “I wouldn’t have wanted to be a captain with any other guys.”

La Cueva senior Jacob Echevarria is also a member of the team who is planning to walk on to the Air Force lacrosse team when he attends their school in the fall. “It is a great privilege to be able to continue our season for another week…,” Echevarria said. He explained that based on Coronado’s win last week against Midland, that the Thunderbirds have since improved since their contest in April.

“I think they have gotten better since then and we shouldn’t underestimate them. However, if we come out strong and play our game, I believe we will be able to pull out a win,” Echevarria continued to say.

The game will take place this Saturday, on Cinco De Mayo, at 5:15 pm at Balloon Fiesta Park. La Cueva junior Stephen Koss, or better known to his teammates as just “Koss”, said he hopes for a big turnout at the park. “I’d love to see as many as we can get! It’s important to get people watching because [lacrosse] is such a small sport and it really needs to grow, especially in this part of the U.S.”