Last year Santa Fe’s St. Michael’s Horsemen came to Moriarty for the 4A state quarterfinals, put up 36 points—including a last-minute game-winning touchdown pass—and ended the Pintos’ football season.

In last Friday’s showdown with the Horsemen, the Pintos got some payback.

Matt Smith scored four touchdowns, Dylan Tapia chipped in two, and the Pintos’ defense did the rest as Moriarty manhandled the Horsemen in a 41-15 home-opening victory.

“It was nice,” Moriarty head coach Joe Anaya said about his team’s third consecutive win. “I thought we moved the ball really well all night—our ball control had a lot to do with it—it took them out of their rhythm.”

At first, the game looked like a possible repeat of last year’s playoff as St. Mike’s quarterback herded the Horsemen downfield and scored on their opening drive, taking an 8-0 lead.

“They came out boom-boom-boom and just threw it down our throats,” Anaya said. But in the second-quarter, Moriarty responded with three-straight touchdowns—two by Smith and one by Tapia—to take a 20-8 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Late in the third quarter, Tapia capped a 10-play drive with his second TD—a 2-yard quarterback keeper—to put the Pintos up 27-8.

On the play, Tapia rolled to his right, and then—with only one St. Mike’s defender to beat—he did a nifty 360-degree spin to get past the defender. “I was leading out and trying to find a way to get into the end zone and I saw the defender flying at me and I just spun off of him,” Tapia said.

Smith scored his third and fourth touchdowns in the fourth quarter: a 17-yard burst with 9:45 remaining in the game, and a 5-yard plunge with 4:12 left that was set up by an interception and a big 49-yard return by J.P. Carmona.

“They came out and hit us right away, and it really woke us up,” said Smith, who led the game in rushing with 210 yards on 30 carries. “But we showed we’re going to hit hard the whole game no matter who it is.”

Smith’s 210 yards on the ground was more than 10 times the total yards rushing that St. Mike’s had: Moriarty’s stingy defense yielded just 19 yards rushing to the Horsemen.

Anaya acknowledged his assistant coaches, particularly his defensive coordinator Peter Romero, for containing the Horsemen’s usually explosive offense. “Peter did a good job—he had a heck of a game plan,” Anaya said.

Romero said the key was to put pressure on St. Mike’s quarterback—who burned the Pintos last year.

“We knew we had to make him move around and not let him get comfortable,” Romero said. “And our secondary made some really nice breaks when the ball was thrown, they broke on the ball really well.”

The Pintos improved to 3-0 with the victory and will host Española Valley Friday at 7 p.m.

Leota Harriman
Leota Harriman

Leota started working for The Independent in 2006, working her way up through the ranks. An employee buyout in 2010 led to her ownership of the newspaper. Leota has served on the board of the N.M. Press Association, and is currently its First Vice President. She is passionate about health and wellness, especially mental health, and loves making art. She can be reached at news.ind.editor@gmail.com.