Moriarty Pintos defense key to toppling Hilltoppers

When Moriarty High’s football team sputtered on its first two offensive plays in last Friday’s matchup against the Los Alamos Hilltoppers, nobody panicked—least of all the Pintos’ coaches.

The coaches, especially Peter [Romero], did a great job of getting these boys ready,” said Moriarty’s head coach Joe Anaya.

Moriarty proceeded to pummel the visiting Hilltoppers 41-0 for its second consecutive blowout victory. Moriarty’s defense completely shut down the Hilltoppers’ offense—a group that put up 63 points the previous week against Pojoaque.

It was the Pintos’ second-straight shutout.

We knew if we could stop their fullback and contain their quarterback we’d be OK, and pretty much everyone did their job,” Romero said. Romero is Moriarty’s defensive coordinator.

The first two plays of Moriarty’s opening drive didn’t produce much, and the Pintos were facing a third-and-5 situation on their own 25-yard line.

No worries.

The home team completed a pass for a first down on its way to manufacturing a 10-play, 80-yard drive that was capped by Marvin Encinias’ 43-yard touchdown run.

It was smooth sailing for the Pintos after that. “We came out a little flat but as soon as they started bustin’ us up we hit them harder,” Moriarty senior Elijah Tapia said. He tallied 127 yards on 9 carries. Tapia ran for three touchdowns—all in the first half—including a 57-yarder early in the second quarter.

Los Alamos mounted a couple of drives—one early in the second quarter that reached the Moriarty 22-yard line, and another at the start of the second half that got inside the Pintos’ 5-yard line—but each time the Kelly-green defensive machine stopped the Hilltoppers on fourth down.

In the third quarter, Encinias broke free for a 90-yard touchdown run and Xavier Romero scored his first-ever varsity TD late in the fourth to round out Moriarty’s offensive production.

My coach was on me all week because I wasn’t following the holes, and this time I just got behind Santi [Santiago Mora] and went off,” Encinias said about his 90-yarder.

I told him to turn on the jets,” teammate Dylan Tapia added as he excitedly slapped Encinias’ shoulder pads. “Once this guy gets open no one’s gonna catch him.”

Encinias finished with two TDs and a team-high 158 yards rushing.

The Pintos’ next test will be Saturday when they travel to Santa Fe to take on the undefeated St. Michael’s Horsemen.