It was a perfect preseason for the Pitman High varsity football team.
The Pride are now 4-0 heading into league play after ousting the visiting North Salinas High Vikings, 28-17, at Joe Debely on Friday night.
Pitman held the Vikings to 78 total yards in the first half and the Pitman offense was on fire after amassing 415 total yards for the game as the Pride rolled into their fourth consecutive victory at home heading into next Friday’s Central California Conference opener against Buhach Colony.
“We played very well in the second half,” said Pitman head coach Tom Tyler. “You gotta give them [North High] credit; they are a well-coached team but I was happy on how we played in the second half.”
The first half proved to be a stalemate for the most part, with neither team scoring a point in the first quarter. North Salinas was held scoreless and kept in check by the Pride defense in their first two possessions.
“We have always had a strong defense,” said Pitman senior Donovan Bravo.
Pitman’s second possession ended with a 32-yard touchdown reception from Bravo after Matt Carrigg rifled the throw with 10:19 on the clock in the second half.
The Vikings from North Salinas tacked on a field goal before the first half ended with the scoreboard reading 7-3.
“In the first half we sputtered a little bit,” Tyler said. “North High has some great bodies and they are young like we are; they are doing a heckuva job and their scheme was good but we adjusted nicely, made changes and wore them down a little bit with our good shape in the second.”
Bravo scored on the fourth play of the third quarter with a 30-yard touchdown pass after Tyress Pope returned the opening kickoff for 60-yards, setting up the offense nicely on the 47-yard-line.
“We didn’t show too much on offense in the first half, but we are a second half team and came out strong and put points on the board,” Bravo said.
The second half showed the Pride’s true strength—their ground game.
Pitman wore down the Vikings defense all game long, tallying 237 yards on the ground.
Blake McBay of Pitman carried the ball five times for a mere six yards in the first half, but in the second half he tallied 124 yards on seven carries and scored a critical touchdown in the third quarter to put his team up 21-3.
The Vikings scored a touchdown on their next possession, just before the third quarter ended, cutting the lead to only 11.
“I think that [passing] really completes us. North High played a lot of man and stacked 10 up front and I knew we could make people hurt if this happens,” said Tyler. “I was happy with the passing game for sure tonight, we also pass protected very well.”
Bravo finished the night with 149 yards in the air after catching four and adding on two touchdowns.
Junior quarterback Matt Carrigg finished the night 7-for-12 with 178 yards and two touchdowns.
“I always try to come out and do my best, especially when coach gives me a chance to do something and I try to execute when I get those passes,” said Bravo.
Pope notched the Pride’s final score in the fourth quarter with a 12-yard-run with about 5:33 left in the game.
North High added their final score with 22 seconds left in the contest, but it wasn’t enough time for a comeback as the Pride took a knee for the final play.
“We gave them that last score but we played guys we don’t normally; but I still think we could play better after being rusty in the line in the first half. Our defense played well overall,” Tyler added. “If we don’t slip and fall and allow that last touchdown it is a pretty nice night for our defense.”
Pitman will open league play next week with a home matchup against Buhach Colony, with the game scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
“I think league is very complete. It’s going to be a week to week deal. I don’t think we have an easy week,” Tyler said. “Everyone is playing good ball and we know we have our hands full.”
“It gives us motivation to keep going and work hard and we need to keep it through CCC. It’s all about training and working hard during practices every day,” Bravo added. “We need to put in the time to prepare.”