The tumbleweeds bounding across midfield just before the start of Moriarty’s boys soccer game  on March 16 could have been an omen or just another oddity of playing high school soccer in March.

It was cold, overcast, and blustery as the Class 4A Pintos kicked off their Covid-delayed season with a 5-1 victory over the visiting Class 1A-3A East Mountain Timberwolves.

The Timberwolves, who came into the match winless after opening their season March 11 with a 3-0 loss at Socorro followed by a 6-1 loss March 13 at Santa Fe Prep, dug themselves a hole in the game’s opening minute.

Defending near their goal, a pass to the T’Wolves’ goalkeeper got past him and scored an own goal giving Moriarty a quick 1-0 advantage.

“It took a weird bounce, he missed it and it went right under his legs,” East Mountain head coach John Larson said. “I think that kinda shell-shocked us.”

A few minutes later, Moriarty freshman Bruno Vaquera received a pass near the top corner of the 18-yard box and launched a floater that skimmed under the crossbar for his first-ever varsity goal and a 2-0 lead.

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“I was concerned about the wind pushing it over but it worked out,” Vaquera said. “It was amazing.”

In the 23rd minute, Bruno’s older brother, David, scored on a free kick from about 20 yards out.

One minute later, David Vaquera had the ball inside the right side of the 6-yard area and served up a cross pass right in front of the goal where sophomore James Bentley scored with a header.

“I was yelling for a pass and he crossed it over and it was a little high, so I just decided to head it in,” Bentley said.

Early in the second half, East Mountain scored its only goal of the match when Nathan Nail launched a shot from just inside the 18 that got past the outstretched hands of Moriarty’s goalkeeper Isaac Dominguez.

“I was just kinda rolling in with the play and I had the opportunity, so I decided to loft it in the air and it soared right in to the upper 90 and I thought that was pretty nice,” Nail said.

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Bentley scored his second goal of the game in the 78th minute.

“It wasn’t the best conditions, our second half was probably the way the game should’ve gone,” Larson said. “But the first half, between the wind and not being quite ready, we got beat out of the gates badly.”

Moriarty’s last game was Oct. 26, 2019 when the Pintos played spoiler by beating district rival Taos 2-0 at home.

East Mountain’s Gabriel Woodfin, left, and Moriarty’s Ben Dick chasing down a through ball in the second half of the Pintos vs. T’Wolves match March 16. Photo by Ger Demarest.

After losing several starting players to graduation last year and a few others who decided not to return, head coach Jordan Allcorn said he has a lot of new players who haven’t played at the varsity level.

“I really didn’t know what to expect from this group,” Allcorn said. “Overall, I was really pleased with our back line, defensively I saw a lot of good things, but we still have a lot of things we need to work on—but it’s definitely a good way to start the season.”