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Pride reaps Harvest Bowl victory
The Pitman High running game worked well Friday night, enough to lift the Pride to a Harvest Bowl victory over Turlock High.
It wasn’t very difficult to spot running back Dominick Walker after the final whistle blew at the sixth annual Harvest Bowl on Friday night. He was arguably the dirtiest player in the white Pitman High football uniform.
“I stink right now,” he said.
And that’s not a bad thing. He hit the soggy field of Joe Debely Stadium quite a few times on his way to three touchdowns — two long ones in the third quarter — that were more than enough to help pull off a convincing 40-6 win over Turlock High in front of more than 5,000 fans.
That means the Harvest Bowl trophy is back in the Pride’s grip after losing for the first time last season, a 7-0 stunner that is still hard to believe for many of the players and coaches.
“After last year’s letdown, this is awesome,” senior quarterback Hayden Baldwin said. “To come out this way in our senior year, coming out the way we did, it’s just ecstatic.”
But the win wasn’t as easy as the score suggests, even though the Pride was facing a team that has struggled all season without two key starters and under first-year head coach James Peterson. The Bulldogs were quite a nuisance for most of the first half.
Pitman got on the board first, thanks to a 39-yard field goal by Quinton Breshears about three minutes into the game — only to be followed by an eight-play drive that saw long runs from Walker, who started to get dirty at this point and finished it off with a 1-yard touchdown.
Early signs of a Pitman blowout? Not exactly.
The Bulldogs answered back with quarterback Kevin Kramer finding a diving Justin Esquivel in the end zone for a 9-yard score to cut the lead to 10-6 after a missed extra-point kick. Things looked good for a Turlock team that entered the game 0-5, the school’s worst start since 1993.
“They played really hard,” Pitman coach Brandon Harris said about Friday night’s opponent. “My hat’s off to them.”
The Bulldogs made the game very interesting after Manuel Huesca got an interception near the end zone, but that was followed by Turlock fumbling the ball on the ensuing snap that resulted in a safety for the Pride, who proceeded to increase the edge to 19-6 before halftime with a Baldwin touchdown pass.
After that, it was all Pitman.
The Pride saw two more touchdowns of 34 and 23 yards from Walker in the third quarter, deflating any kind of comeback the Bulldogs had in mind. He finished the night with 13 carries, 145 yards and a very dirty uniform to clean.
Other teammates contributed to the mess. Markus Sanders had 91 yards on 12 carries, but the one stat that wasn’t recorded was the many times he kept the Bulldogs’ eyes on him, allowing Walker to run almost freely throughout the night.
Oh, and Baldwin had a 14-yard TD run and threw a 19-yard toss to Derek Nidey that was more than enough on this night. The Pride improved to 3-3 overall, and 2-0 in Central California Conference. But more than that, the Harvest Bowl trophy is back in the Pride’s hands.
“It was a big change from last year,” said Walker, a junior. “We get a big momentum going into next year.”
To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.