It’s been more than 16 months since Moriarty High School’s football team played on its home field and 17 months since the Pintos won a game, but on March 13, Moriarty picked up a proverbial “two mints in one” with a victory at home over the visiting Española Valley Sundevils.
The last time Moriarty played Española Valley was Sept. 15, 2017 and the Pintos won that game 62-7.
The outcome this time around was similar as the Pintos rolled to a 50-0 blowout that ended at halftime on the mercy rule.
“Yeah, it feels good, it feels really good,” said Moriarty junior Cayden Dunn who scored four touchdowns. “It feels really good to come in here and get a win, ya know, it’s different but it feels good.”
It is different because the Pintos are playing football in March, and it was cold with a dash of snow flurries, and the dormant, yellowish-brown grass on the field resembled old hay.
But it was also kind of normal, in a time when schools and student-athletes are craving a return to something that resembles normal. There were fans bundled up in the stands. The cheer and dance teams fueled a spirited vibe near the sidelines. And from the opening kickoff, the Pintos drenched the Sundevils in a sea of green—a description Natalie Romero, the PA announcer, said several times during the game.
On Moriarty’s first offensive play of the game, after recovering a fumble at the Sundevils 14-yard line, Dunn swept around the left side and plowed past the only Española defender between him and the end zone. It was Dunn’s first touchdown of the game and Moriarty’s first TD of the season. Matthew Romero added the 2-point conversion for a quick 8-0 lead.
“I just remember coming around the outside and I saw one dude right there standing in my way and I just ran over him,” Dunn said. “I wasn’t gonna be denied, ya know?”
Less than two minutes later, Dunn intercepted a pass and returned it 42 yards for his second TD.
A minute later, Moriarty sophomore Gray Wolf recovered an Española fumble in the end zone to score his first-ever varsity touchdown, lifting the Pintos to a 24-0 lead.
“The ball popped loose and we were hoping for a safety,” Wolf said. “But it was open, so I just took my chance and grabbed it.”
Later in the first quarter, Dunn caught a 23-yard touchdown pass from Bryan Wright.
“I saw Cayden wide open, and I didn’t wanna overthrow him so I just kinda lofted it to him and he caught it and scored,” Wright said.
The Sundevils turned the ball over on every possession. They coughed up four fumbles, and with no punter, they went for it on every fourth down and failed, giving the Pintos good field position.
Romero added a 1-yard plunge to put the Pintos up 38-0 at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Dunn scored on a 17-yard run and Wolf scored his first-ever offensive TD on a 20-yard run.
“It was a good game for us, our kids came out with a lot of energy,” Moriarty head coach Gabe Romero said. “It’s good for these guys to be home, and it’s just great to be out here playing, I think that’s the big thing, to see them out here playing, it was fun to see.”
Moriarty hosts St. Pius X March 19.