LA, Moriarty to meet in playoffs

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By Mike Cote

For the second year in a row, the Los Alamos Hilltopper football team will host the Moriarty Pintos in the first round of the Class AAAA playoffs.

That’s according to the New Mexico Activities Association playoff brackets that were released Sunday.

The Hilltoppers (7-3) will meet the Pintos Friday night at Sullivan Field. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Los Alamos earned a seventh seed for the 2008 playoffs this season, only one spot ahead of its 2007 seeding despite going 4-0 and winning the championship in an improved District 2AAAA.

Moriarty, meanwhile, finished with a record of 5-5, one of three schools to finish .500 making it into the playoffs this season. Moriarty and St. Pius X were the two 5-5 teams to make it in by leapfrogging District 2AAAA Bernalillo, the only team in Class AAAA with a winning record that wasn’t invited into the 12-team bracket.

Capital, which also finished right at the .500 mark, had to be considered before Bernalillo because it finished second in 2AAAA play, while Bernalillo finished third.

The Hilltoppers and Pintos met at Sullivan Field in the first round last season, with the Pintos routing the host team 37-0.

As expected, the Goddard Rockets, who crushed the defending state champion Artesia Bulldogs Friday night 35-7 to take the District 4AAAA title, picked up the overall No. 1 seed.

Goddard (9-1), second-seeded Aztec (10-0), third-seeded Belen (9-1) and fourth-seeded Artesia (6-4) all get byes into the state quarterfinals. Artesia was the only non-district-winner to be seeded in the top four.

The Hilltoppers, who have won five straight games heading into the state playoffs, came back from a two-touchdown deficit Friday to beat the Capital Jaguars 33-28 and retake the 2AAAA crown they lost in 2007.

In that game, Hilltopper quarterback Zach Mang threw a late 22-yard touchdown pass to Corey Clark in the corner of the end zone. Clark pulled the ball down  in a crowd of three Capital defesnive backs.

Mang also rushed 12 times for 76 yards, while Clark finished with 106 yards on 12 rushes. Both of them rushed for a touchdown Friday.

The Jaguars, who finished as the district’s runner-up, squeaked into the field as a 12th seed and will face the fifth-seeded Kirtland Central Broncos Friday.

St. Pius, which went into the 2007 playoffs as the No. 4 seed, just snuck in as a No. 12 seed this season.

Here are the Class AAAA playoff first round and quarterfinal football match-ups:

First round


(9) Piedra Vista at (8) Del Norte, 7 p.m.

(12) Capital at (5) Kirtland Central, 7 p.m.

(10) Moriarty at (7) Los Alamos, 7 p.m.


(11) St. Pius X at (6) Silver, 1 p.m.

Quarterfinal round

Nov. 21-22

Del Norte-Piedra Vista winner vs. (1) Goddard

Kirtland Central-Capital winner vs. (4) Artesia

Silver-St. Pius winner vs. (3) Belen

Los Alamos-Moriarty winner vs. (2) Aztec