After dropping the first three games of the season, Moriarty High School’s football team got into the win column Sept. 13 with a 40-12 victory over the visiting Valencia Jaguars.
“I’m very happy, our kids played well tonight, our kids did a great job,” Moriarty head coach Gabe Romero said after securing his inaugural victory as the Pintos’ skipper. “This week we didn’t practice like an 0-3 team, we practiced like a team that was 3-0.”
Pete Sandoval, Cayden Dunn, Justin Carmona and Andres Lopez combined for six touchdowns rushing as the Pintos (1-3) built a double-digit lead and never looked back.
“I thought on both sides of the ball we played great,” Romero said. “Even on a couple of those kickoffs [that Valencia fumbled], on all three aspects, we played well and I’m proud of these kids.”
Midway through the first quarter on the first play of Moriarty’s second possession, Dunn burst through a hole and dashed 65 yards down the sidelines for his first touchdown to put the Pintos up 6-0.
“I just remember, I got the ball, had a great block and their dude was going the wrong way and I just cut off of that,” Dunn said.
Two minutes later, Carmona picked off a Valencia pass and returned it for a pick-six but the touchdown was nullified by a Moriarty penalty.
On the next play from scrimmage, Sandoval scored on an 18-yard scamper for a 12-0 advantage.
“It’s all good, you know, we came in with the mentality to win and I think that’s what changed this week,” Sandoval said. “I got the opportunity on that play and I took it and I think we did that all night tonight.”
Sandoval’s second TD—a 5-yard plunge in the second quarter—gave the Pintos an 18-0 lead at halftime. He led Moriarty’s ground assault with 155 yards on 20 carries.
In the third quarter, the Jaguars (0-3) got into the end zone following an 80-yard drive to trim the margin to 18-6.
The Pintos answered on their next drive when Dunn scored his second TD on an 11-yard run. His subsequent sweep around the left side nailed the 2-point conversion to push the Pintos’ lead to 26-6 at the end of the third quarter.
Dunn tallied 104 yards rushing on 12 carries.
Early in the fourth quarter after the Pintos recovered a Valencia fumble, Lopez’ 26-yard TD run made it 34-6.
On Moriarty’s next possession, Carmona’s 5-yard jaunt gave the Pintos a 40-6 lead with 4:33 remaining in the game.
The Jaguars scored their second TD with 55 seconds remaining.
After the game Romero reminded his players, “This is our first win, but we’ve got a long way to go.”
The Pintos next game is at Santa Fe Capital (1-2) on Sept. 20.
Ger has been writing and shooting photos of high school sports for The Independent for 15 years. His dedication to youth athletics goes beyond sports reporting. He is past president of East Mountain Little League and works as a baseball umpire. He lives in Edgewood with his family.