Winning streaks can be a rousing boost for any team. After Moriarty cruised to a convincing district victory over the visiting Pojoaque Valley Elks on Oct. 15, the Pintos’ coaches made a point of reinforcing the importance of the team’s current stretch of consecutive wins.
“How many games have we won in a row?” one of the coaches asked the players during their postgame huddle following the 53-6 thrashing of the Elks.
“Four!” the players answered in unison.
The four-win streak matches the Pintos’ longest since the start of the 2017 season, making it the longest winning streak since head coach Gabe Romero took the helm.
The blowout over Pojoaque Valley was the largest margin of victory this season for the Pintos, and their largest point spread since beating Española Valley 50-0 during the Covid-postponed season last March.
Combined with the Pintos’ win at Ruidoso the previous week, it marks the first time the team has had a record above .500 since Romero took the reins.
“We started [the season] 0-2, but right now we’re playing very well,” Romero said. “The first two losses were against larger schools, but all the 4A schools that we’ve played so far, we’ve beat them.”
Pojoaque came into the game sporting a 4-2 record with multiple lopsided victories, but the Pintos (4-2, 1-0) wasted no time establishing their dominance. On the second play from scrimmage, Erik “Gray” Wolf burst through Pojoaque’s defense for a 63-yard touchdown run.
“We had good blocking, and then it came down to just breaking a few tackles and we did that,” Wolf said.
Pojoaque fumbled the ensuing kickoff and the Pintos recovered at the Elks 31-yard line. On the first snap of Moriarty’s second possession, Matthew Romero swept around the left and darted to the end zone.
Only 75 seconds had ticked off the clock and the Pintos were up 14-0.
After a successful onside kick, Moriarty mounted a five-play drive that Andres Lopez capped with a 7-yard plunge.
Matthew Romero capped Moriarty’s next drive with a 3-yard touchdown scamper for a 28-0 lead.
“This is the first time I’ve had two touchdowns in a game,” Matthew Romero said, adding, “It’s nice to start a game like that and keep it rolling.”
Pojoaque got on the board with a touchdown pass midway through the first quarter, but Amare Gonzales capped Moriarty’s next drive with a 7-yard touchdown to put the Pintos up 35-6 at the end of the frame.
In the second quarter, Wolf scored on a 15-yard run and added another TD just before halftime for a 47-6 lead.
Cayden Dunn wrapped up the Pintos scoring with a 4-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
The Pintos piled up more than 400 yards rushing, with Wolf leading the ground game with 100 yards on five carries. Dunn tallied 76 yards on four carries; Matthew Romero chipped in 58 yards on five carries.
“It’s pretty big,” Wolf said about the Pintos winning their first district game of the season and extending their winning streak to four games. “As far as I know, Moriarty hasn’t been all that, but I think we’ve really turned it around.”
Coach Romero noted that the Pintos’ philosophy of late has been to try and win each day at every practice. “Our kids, we’ve been talking about not just winning on Fridays but winning each day,” coach Romero said. “Practice-wise, we’re doing that, and it’s showing out here on the field.”