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LA football team knocked out in first round by Pintos

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By The Staff

This was not the way the Los Alamos football season was supposed to end. Monday was not expected to be the day to hand in uniforms and store the gear away until next year.Unexpected or not, it happened. The shocking 37-0 setback to visiting Moriarity at Sullivan Field Saturday night was an abrupt ending for a Hilltopper team that had won its first eight starts and appeared to be a contender for the Class AAAA title.And the Pintos (7-4), who had lost three close games before winning six-straight, now move on to play at top-seeded, defending state champion Artesia in the quarterfinals. Bob Scott, with his 18th campaign as head coach now concluded at 9-2, was stunned, disappointed and didn’t know why his team had played so poorly.“It was a total mess,” Scott said, “a totally unexpected one. Mistakes and more mistakes. We fell behind early on fumbles, and had no response after that. The more we made mistakes, the more they (the Pintos) took advantage.”The damage occurred quickly. Los Alamos took the opening kickoff and, after a 5-yard run from junior Raul Rodriguez at his own 15, senior Martin Romero fumbled on the next play, the Pintos’ Taylor Allcorn — son of the head coach — scooped up the ball and ran 27 yards into the end zone only 54 seconds into the game. Kyle Wolf converted his first of four PATs, and little did the visitors know that these were all the points they were to need. But there was another gift waiting. On the Hilltoppers’ next possession, senior quarterback Jeremy Kasik was hit as he dropped his arm back to begin a pass, fumbled, and it was Moriarity ball again.And, after Wolf kicked a 32-yard field goal, it was already 10-0 at the 7:09 mark of the first quarter. It stayed that way through the remainder of the half. While both teams ran, ran and ran the ball, with Moriarity a mirror of Los Alamos, in the game neither team had any passing yardage, with the Pintos completing one pass for no gain, and Kasik and company 0-for-5 through the air.So, only down by 10 at intermission, it appeared as only a matter of time before Los Alamos would get its game into gear. Wishful thinking.Moriarity took the second half kickoff and went along the ground with three running backs alternating — Ben Gonzales (the second-leading rusher in 4A to Rodriguez), Allcorn and Alex Griego. It drove the ball right at the Hilltoppers, going 65 yards in six plays before Griego ran 18 yards for his first of three touchdowns. Next came another fumble by Kasik. Both teams then traded three and punt possessions before the Pintos struck again as the third quarter wound down. They rushed the ball eight times from their own 48 to set up Griego’s 7-yard TD run.And this, like the other scoring runs, was hardly contested by the ’Topper defense. Scott was beside himself.“I couldn’t believe what I was seeing,” he said. “On their last touchdown, we just let him go. It wasn’t funny seeing him (Gonzales) just getting away from one defender after another and then standing at midfield with only one of our players in sight. It was like that all game.”The Gonzales score was an 86-yard punt return. He gathered in the ball at his own 8 and just set his sights on the opposite end zone. There were would-be Los Alamos tacklers, but none able to slow down Gonzales.Earlier in the final quarter, another Moriarity drive ended on Griego’s 3-yard run. The lead now grew to 31-0, and the visitors were already looking ahead to Artesia and the passing attack led by All-State quarterback Landry Jones.Los Alamos, known for its rushing attack, could never get it going, not with senior Ruben Martinez, Rodriguez, Romero, or junior Zachary Mang. In the first quarter, it couldn’t get further then the Pintos’ 41. In the second quarter, the ’Toppers made it only to the Moriarity 36 before mistakes pushed them back. There was no home team threat in the second half either. Los Alamos never moved into Moriarity territory in the last two quarters.There won’t be a state semifinal game against Artesia, just an unexpected abrupt ending.

NOTES: It was the prep football finale for 12 Los Alamos seniors — Martinez, Romero, Kasik, Matt Zocco, Kris Peltz, Sean Ward, Lukas Lucero, Morgan Porch, Scott Teegarden, Aaron Kilburn, David Schaefer and Scott Mortensen.