Defense plays well but offense struggles in Pintos’ loss to Hope Christian

Running back Pete Sandoval scored Moriarty High’s only touchdown in the Pintos’ Sept. 6 home opener loss to the Hope Christian Huskies.

Walking off the field after the game, Sandoval was far more focused on the challenges facing his team than his own accomplishment.

“We gotta come together—gotta get it done,” Sandoval said.

Moriarty’s defense produced two safeties and kept the score close in the first half, but the visiting Huskies (2-1) produced the big plays that lifted them to a 35-11 victory.

“Most of the first half, I was happy with what we were doing,” Moriarty head coach Gabe Romero said. “You kind of got a glimpse of the things that we are capable of doing—we’ve just gotta be able to do that for four quarters.”

With 14 seconds remaining in the first quarter, the Huskies struck first with a 33-yard touchdown pass.

Cayden Dunn carrying the ball as Pete Sandoval attempts to block a pair of oncoming Hope defenders. Photo by Ger Demarest.

The Pintos (0-3) got on the board in the second quarter when Sandoval’s 12-yard touchdown run capped a seven-play, 80-yard drive to tie the game at 7-7.

“I got some good blocking and I just ran,” Sandoval said, adding, “But we’ve gotta start figuring it out on a larger scale and turn it into Ws.”

Sandoval had 140 yards rushing on 23 carries.

The Huskies responded on the first play of their next possession with a 76-yard TD pass to go up 13-7.

With just over a minute left in the first half, the Pintos came up with their first safety of the game when a bad snap flew over Huskies quarterback Collin Evans, forcing him to chase the ball into Moriarty’s end zone where Sandoval and Andres Lopez brought him down for the 2 points, trimming the margin to 13-9.

Pete Sandoval tallied 140 yards on 23 carries. Photo by Ger Demarest.

But after Hope’s ensuing kickoff, the Huskies picked off a Moriarty pass and returned it to the Pintos 22-yard line.

One play later, the Huskies connected on a TD pass to take a 21-9 lead at halftime.

“I think that was the turning point, that interception,” Romero said. “They intercepted the ball and had a quick score, and to me, that turned the whole momentum and we had a hard time getting any of it back.”

The Huskies added two more TDs in the third quarter.

Early in the fourth quarter, the Pintos squandered an opportunity to get into the end zone when they drove downfield and had first-and-goal at the Huskies 6-yard line.

A Sandoval run up the middle got the Pintos to the 1-yard line.

But with second-and-goal at the 1, the Huskies stopped Moriarty’s next three plays—another Sandoval carry, a quarterback sneak, and a sweep to the left by Cayden Dunn.

“We can’t get inside the 5 and not come away with any points like that,” Romero said. “That was kind of a dagger.”

On Hope’s next play, the Pintos came up with their second safety to make the score 28-11.

The Huskies scored their final touchdown late in the fourth.

“If we can eliminate those big plays, I thought our defense did a good job, two safeties in one game, that was big,” Romero said. “But offensively, we’re struggling to move the ball.”

The Pintos host the Valencia Jaguars Sept. 13.