By Arnie Leshin
Fewer mistakes, better execution, and a stout defensive hold in the final minutes were the key ingredients as Santa Fe High evened its football record at 1-1 by getting past visiting Moriarty, 19-13, Friday night at Ivan Head Stadium.
Trailing only 7-0 at halftime was fortunate for the Demons. It could have been worse after their dismal first half that brought only 26 total yards on offense, and trying to slow down the winged-T offense Pintos’ offense that came away with 117 rushing yards powered by 96 from junior fullback Pedro Sandoval.
And after a promising drive to begin the tilt when Davee Gonzales fumbled on the Pintos’ 36, the Demons’ offense shut down the rest of the half.
In all, Moriarty (0-2) piled up 305 yards on 60 carries along the ground and threw only two passes. In the first half, it toted the ball along the ground with Sandoval getting most of the touches.
For Santa Fe High, it was an impressive recovery in the second half led by sophomore quarterback Luc Jaramillo. Displaying his versatility and deceptiveness, he quickly got the Demons to within 7-6 in the third quarter.
Jaramillo completed both of his passes for 42 yards and ran for another 29 doing a 73-yard drive that brought a 28-yard pass to Nico Martinez in the end zone. The point-after failed and left Moriarty on top by one.
Back came the Pintos with a drive that lasted 7:26, but ended at the Demons’ 26 after back-to-back holding penalties. The length of this failed march was the Moriarty slowdown all game, efficient at holding on to the ball for 19 minutes and 14 seconds in the second half. Santa Fe High did the opposite with only five minutes of its possession.
After their defense got the ball back, the Demons took advantage by going 67 yards in just four plays and powered by Martell Mora’s electrifying 58-yard breakaway to the Pinto 1. Two plays later, Elijah Martinez capped the drive by running the ball in from 2 yards out, and this time Santiago Ortega’s PAT was good and it was 13-7 as the third quarter wound down.
But the Pintos responded by taking the ball 58 yards in 12 plays, with Sandoval running it in from the 5 with 7:37 left in the contest. A big defensive play by Santa Fe High occurred when it blocked Josh Montoya’s point-after kick and kept it 13-13.
Then came the stretch run, the Demons’ offense sparked by Jaramillo and their stubborn defense halting a Moriarty drive within 5 yards of touchdown territory in the last two minutes.
First Jaramillo tested the Pintos with a pair of throws, than burst up the middle to score from 79 yards out with six minutes showing on the scoreboard. Again, the PAT was off the mark, so the lead was only six points.
Then came the big D. Instrumental in this was sophomore linebacker Cameron Romero, one of several injured Demons, and who separated a shoulder. But he hung around Coach Martinez and tried to convince him that he’s ready to go back in.
Finally, Martinez gave in. In went Romero with 1:40 left and Moriarty down to the Santa Fe High 5 on a fourth-and-3. But Romero knew the ball was again going to Sandoval, who had already rushed for 156 yards on 27 carries, and right he was.
So the ball was handed to Sandoval and Romero rushed in, shed a block, and slowed down Sandoval enough to allow his teammates to hold him to a 1-yard gain, loose the ball on downs, and get the home side at 1-1.
Next to visit Ivan Head Stadium Friday night is winless Espanola Valley, and that’s where the Demons last season ended their annoying 35-game losing skein with a game-ending field goal. Then they won one more time and finished at 2-8.
. . . As for Capital’s visit to Deming Friday night, the hope was for the weather to hold up after last year’s 14-14 contest at Jaguar Field was delayed for quite some time and then called.
This time, there was no nasty weather and the Jaguars came back from a 22-8 deficit to get within 22-14 on stellar junior running back Luke Padilla’s 3-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. He finished with 156 yards and Capital had a chance to tie things in the final minutes.
Now 1-1, it stopped the Wildcats offense and took over at midfield. Getting to the Deming (2-0) 7, Capital was a half-yard short of a first down, but was stopped and had to turn the ball over. It was a game effort against a good team on the road.
Next Friday night, Lovington comes to Jaguar Field after a confusing first two outings. It opened by shutting down Chaparrel, 53-0, and scored 54 Friday night against Roswell, but Roswell scored 76. Believe it. So it will remain a mystery as to which Wildcat team shows up at Capital.
In other Friday night scores, Robertson turned back Cobre, 34-14, West Las Vegas rolled over Santa Rosa, 46-16, Raton dominated traditional rival Trinidad, Colorado, 43-6, Ruidoso topped Hatch Valley, 22-0, Taos outplayed Los Alamos, 44-27, Bernalillo disposed over Zuni, 47-0, Bloomfield overpowered Escalante, 63-12, and Pojoaque Valley defeated Santa Fe Indian School, 21-0.
In Saturday afternoon games, St. Michael’s was overwhelmed 49-6 by the undefeated visitors from Portales and dropped to 0-2. In Albuquerque, Hope Christian blanked winless Espanola Valley, 21-0.