In its Nov. 2 regular season finale, Moriarty High School’s football team did what it’s done for most of the season—the Pintos put up a good fight before ultimately falling to their opponent.

Moriarty’s defense kept the home team in the game for a little over three quarters, and when Moriarty’s offense finally got into the end zone in the fourth quarter, the Pintos (3-7, 0-3) were within striking distance.

But over the next eight minutes, the visiting Ruidoso Warriors (6-4, 1-2) scored three unanswered touchdowns to go home with a 36-8 victory.

“Frustrating,” Moriarty head coach Joe Anaya said, summing up the game. “We just couldn’t take advantage of the opportunities we had.”

In the first half, Moriarty’s defense went toe-to-toe with Ruidoso’s explosive offense, intercepting a pass and recovering a fumble to hold the Warriors to a second-quarter touchdown.

In the third quarter, the Warriors went up 14-0 after connecting on a 31-yard touchdown pass.

The Pintos offense drove inside the Warriors 10-yard line twice but turned the ball over on downs both trips.

Late in the third quarter—after Ruidoso missed a field goal—Moriarty quarterback Bryan Wright’s 7-yard sweep into the end zone capped an 80-yard drive that consumed more than four minutes.

The Pintos made the 2-point conversion to pull within 14-8 with 10:14 left in the game.

Moriarty attempted an onside kick, but the ball didn’t travel the required 10 yards and Ruidoso took over at the Pintos 44-yard line.

Three plays later, a 38-yard touchdown pass gave the Warriors a 22-8 lead.

“That one hurt,” Anaya said.

Ruidoso stopped the Pintos on their next two possessions while adding two more TDs to put the game on ice.

“We were playing hard, you could see the effort, it’s just the untimely mistakes,” Anaya said. “We had chances, we’ve just gotta make plays.”

Despite the loss, Moriarty squeaked into the Class 4A state playoffs with the twelfth seed. The Pintos travel to Bloomfield Nov. 9 to face the No. 5 Bobcats, helmed by former Moriarty head coach Bob Allcorn.

“That could be a good matchup for us,” Anaya said.