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.

A pack of Valencia Jaguars chasing down Moriarty’s Andres Lopez. Photo by Ger Demarest.

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.