Scorpions come up short in 5A quarterfinals

Karl Schneider

FARMINGTON – With less than a minute remaining and down 27-26 to Moriarty Friday night, the visiting Farmington football team elected to go for the two-point conversion to win.

Quarterback Kody Becenti rolled to his right, tucked the ball under his arm and ran for the end zone. But the junior was hit inside the 1- yard line, stood up and turned away.

The failed two-point conversion set up an onside kick to give the Scorps one last chance, but the ball never made it the required 10 yards, and No. 4 Moriarty took possession, running out the clock to pick up the 27-26 win over No. 12 Farmington in the 5A state quarterfinals.

“It’s who we are and who these kids are,” Farmington head coach Jeff Dalton said of the decision to go for two. “We won our first game of the season going for two. That’s who we are and who we’ve been. I called the timeout and looked in the kids' eyes, and everyone wanted to go for it. It was the right call, and I don’t regret it at all.”

The Scorps (8-4) caught a break to get the chance to go for the two-point conversion. With the Pintos (9-2) up 27-20, Farmington forced a fumble, which Cruz Dubick recovered near midfield with 1:29 remaining.

“It shows how resilient they are and how resilient they have been all season,” Dalton said of his team’s refusal to give up. “I think everyone in the stadium thought it was over with 1:29 left except for our boys and coaching staff. They never relented and kept fighting.”

When Becenti’s first pass of the ensuing Scorpion drive sailed high of its target, the ball hit a Moriarty player in the chest, but he dropped the interception.

On the next play, Becenti was flushed from the pocket, rolled to his right to narrowly avoid a sack and fired downfield, where Diego Elebario hauled in the catch and scampered into the end zone to make it 27-26.

Moriarty’s Elijah Tapia broke two big touchdown runs in the first half to give Moriarty an early 13-0 lead. Tapia’s first score came on the second play of the game, as he went 60 yards untouched for the score.

Early in the second quarter, he ran through multiple tackles on his way to a 68-yard touchdown.

The Scorps answered quickly with an Elebario touchdown to make it 13-6.

Late in the second quarter, facing fourth and one, Becenti found senior receiver Jeb Pinkley, who shook off a tackle and went 58 yards for a touchdown to tie the game at 13.

Farmington needed only 1:29 to find the end zone in the third quarter when Becenti hit Dubick, who was hit at the goal line and fell forward into the end zone for a 14-yard touchdown to give the Scorps a 20-13 lead.

Moriarty scored on a pair of 32-yard runs, the last one allowing the hosts to take the lead back at 27-20 with 4:17 remaining.

The loss ends the season for the Scorps, but Dalton, who was in his first year as the head coach, said what the team did during the season will have a lasting impact on the program.

“This senior class really paved the way for the new way of Scorpion football," Dalton said. "They have an attitude of toughness. Since we had a rookie coach, everyone learning the offense for the first time, this year was just phenomenal. They took something that was brand new, and to win eight games and come four inches from going to the semifinals, that’s something great. These seniors paved the way for the future of this program.”

Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.