The Pitman High School varsity football team put on a show for their homecoming crowd at Joe Debely Stadium Friday night, shutting out Modesto High School 21-0 for their first league victory.
“It was a good team win,” PHS head coach Lance Weckerle said. “Our defense played well, our offense played well and Modesto is a good team.”
Coming into Friday’s Central California Athletic League matchup, both the Pride and the Panthers were 1-6 on the season and 0-2 in league play. While they seemed evenly matched record-wise, history was in Pitman’s favor: The Pride was 4-1 all-time vs. Modesto before their fifth win Friday, and 2-1 against the Panthers at home.
“I expect to win every week. (Modesto) doesn’t have very many good athletes, but the ones they do have do a good job. I knew they were going to give us a handful,” Weckerle said.
It was a close game throughout the first half, with Pitman scoring their first touchdown at the end of the first quarter — a trick play handoff from quarterback Kendall La Rosa to running back Sergio Romo, who then dropped back and completed a 52-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Kade Morris.
It was La Rosa’s first league start, which he earned after an impressive second-half showing last week against Gregori High School.
“He got a spark last week when we were at Gregori and were struggling to move the ball, so I wanted to give him an opportunity and see what he could do,” Weckerle said.
La Rosa completed six of 19 passes with 61 passing yards on the night and had 43 rushing yards on six carries. He threw two interceptions, but also got a touchdown of his own with three minutes left in the third quarter, completing a one-yard quarterback sneak into the endzone to give the Pride a 14-0 lead. After forcing Modesto to punt on their ensuing possession, Pitman got the ball back and immediately capped a four-play drive with a 50-yard touchdown from running back Julian Lindo, who finished the game with 25 carries for 165 yards and earned himself the title of The Blitz Player of the Game.
“It feels good,” Lindo said. “Our O-line blocked good, our defense played great, we didn’t let up any points and everyone did their job.”
The Pride was able to put up 21 unanswered points against the Panthers thanks to a stellar performance from the defense, who had five fourth down stops during the game, two of which came in the red zone. Pitman tallied 381 total offensive yards on the night and held Modesto to 260.
“They played a good game,” Weckerle said of the defense. “They have a couple of things they need to clean up too, but they gave Modesto’s quarterback a tough night in the pocket…We bent but we didn’t break.”
After Friday’s victory, the Pride is now 2-6 overall and 1-2 in CCAL play. Next week, they’ll take on Downey High School at 7 p.m. in Turlock.