WEB EXCLUSIVE: Game of the week – Belen beats Moriarty in OT
The Belen Eagles went to overtime to remain undefeated while the Los Lunas Tigers notched their third consecutive mercy rule victory as both teams went to 3-0 on the season Friday night.
In the News-Bulletin’s Game of the Week, Belen defeated visiting Moriarty 27-21 while Los Lunas traveled to Albuquerque to defeat Del Norte 50-0. The Valencia Jaguars had toughest assignment of the week, traveling to Artesia, where VHS fell to 2-1 on the season after a hard fought 20-14 loss to the Bulldogs.
GAME OF THE WEEK: BELEN 27, MORIARTY 21
Eagles senior Trenton Barba scored a pair of touchdown runs, including a 1-yard plunge in overtime to give Belen a hard-fought homecoming win over the visiting Pintos.
After each scoring 21 first-half points, the two teams locked into a defensive battle in the second half, producing no scoring in the rest of regulation time.
After winning the coin toss before overtime, Moriarty started on its own 10-yard line and looked to be ready to score when sophomore running back Allen Michel opened halftime with a 6-yard run. But Michel was stacked up on third-and-4, gaining only one yard. Moriarty then missed their chip shot field goal attempt, giving the Eagles an opening to take the win.
With the ball on the 10, Belen wasted no time, handing the ball to Barba on three consecutive plays, moving to the 1-yard-line after two plays. Barba easily burst in for the game-winning touchdown on third down.
“We just needed to get a defensive stop,” Barba said. “Once we got that stop, we knew we were going to punch it in.”
The game hinged largely on big plays and Belen’s bend-but-don’t-break defensive effort in the second half. Moriarty (1-2) began the game with a seven-play, 68-yard drive that ended with a 5-yard run by Michel to give the Pintos a 7-0 lead.
But the Eagles answered on the next play as junior Manuel Romero took a squib kick off one bounce then ran 82 yards for the tying touchdown to tie the game at 7-7.
On the next possession, Moriarty again engineered a long drive that ate up the rest of the clock in the first quarter. Junior Joe Jackson scored on a 5-yard-run on the first play of the second quarter to put the Pintos up again 14-7.
Belen again struck quickly to tie the game three plays later when junior quarterback Chris Peralta raced away from the Moriarty defense to score a 47-yard touchdown a minute later, tying the game at 14-14.
The Eagles got a break on the ensuing kick off, stripping the ball from the up-man on the squib kickoff and taking over on the Moriarty 26-yard line. Barba burst in for a 2-yard touchdown eight plays later to give BHS a 21-14 lead.
Moriarty got its last big scoring play just before halftime when junior quarterback Skylar Pearson dropped in a long pass over the outstretched hands of a Belen defender to senior Kade Bond, who raced away with the 63-yard touchdown pass that left the game tied 21-21 at halftime.
“It was a war out there, with two super teams out there,” said coach John Lerma. “You have to give our defense credit for winning this game because our offense sputtered for most of the game. But our defense gave kept us in the game.”
Belen managed just 136 yards of total offense, with 122 coming from its rushing attack. Moriarty’s Wing-T offense produced 298 yards of total offense with 223 on the ground. But Pearson only went 2-of-9 passing, was sacked three times, and had a pair of critical third-down passes in the second half batted down by the long arms of Belen senior defensive end Tristan Baca.
Peralta led Belen with 50 yards rushing on 10 attempts and went 2-of-3 on passing for 14 yards. Barba added 39 yards on 11 carries and Andrew Castillo managed 33 yards on eight carries.