In the second half of last Friday’s game against the visiting Portales Rams, Moriarty High’s football team was up 7-0 until the Pintos gave up two big plays that handed the Rams all the points they needed to win.

In the game’s final seconds, the Pintos needed one last big play of their own.

Facing fourth-and-goal at the Portales 6-yard line with time running out, Moriarty quarterback Dylan Tapia rolled to his left and tossed a pass to Tyler Murphy in the corner of the end zone.

Tyler Murphy and his teammates surrounding coach Peter Romero late in the fourth quarter.

Murphy made a leaping catch but came down a few feet out of bounds and the Rams escaped Moriarty with a 13-7 victory. “I thought I was in,” Murphy said after the game. “I got up and looked at the ref and he said I was out. Dylan threw a good pass, I guess I just didn’t bring my body down in time.”

The Pintos had started that final drive on the Rams 35-yard line with 3:55 remaining in the game. Moriarty used four plays to drive downfield for a first-and-goal at the Rams 10-yard line with 2:17 left.

A botched snap pushed the Pintos back to the 12 before a pair of running plays moved Moriarty to the 1-yard line with 37.8 seconds left.

A false-start penalty moved the Pintos back to the 6. “We really shot ourselves in the foot there,” Moriarty head coach Joe Anaya said. “Penalties kill momentum.”

Marvin Encinias’ 2-yard plunge got Moriarty on the board in the second quarter. He had 57 yards rushing on 14 carries. Tapia led the Pintos in rushing with 101 yards on 17 carries.

Moriarty’s defense had seemingly stopped a Portales’ drive in the third quarter until the Rams went for it on fourth down and converted.

Moriarty players run down after their loss to Portales.

On the next play the Rams scored on a 54-yard quarterback keeper to trim the deficit to 7-6.

The Pintos’ next drive stalled at the Portales 40, and a good punt by Murphy put the Rams inside their own 10. But the Rams connected on a short pass to the 20, and the receiver broke a tackle and raced 80 yards to the end zone.

“We can’t give up those big plays,” Anaya said. “We had to contain them and we didn’t. They had those two big plays, that was the difference—and penalties just killed us.”

The Pintos play their final regular-season game at district rival Ruidoso on Friday.