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Pitman ends thriller with victory over Lincoln
Josh Vercelli of Pitman High makes a hit on Lincoln running back Deshawn Campbell in Friday's 43-36 shootout victory at Joe Debely. - photo by FRANKIE TOVAR / The Journal

Pitman High hosted Lincoln High of Stockton on Friday as the Pride looked to follow up their stellar opening day performance with another decisive victory over the visiting Lincoln High Trojans.

The Pride seemed to pick up where they left off last week, as Drew Lewis and company took an early 16-0 lead, but after a physical first half the game quickly turned into an offensive shootout between the two teams to the delight of those in attendance at Joe Debely Stadium.

After bruising back and forth play and four lead changes, Pitman escaped with a 43-36 victory over the Trojans.

“The kids are hard workers and we know Lincoln is big and physical,” Pitman head coach Tom Tyler said. “We kept punching away till the end of it, and we did it.”

What felt like a comfortable 22-13 lead for Pitman going into halftime would diminish by the end of the third quarter. The Pride defense struggled to contain the Trojans' running game in the second half, however, they still managed to cause and recover three fumbles.

The defensive line made up of Josh Vercelli, Nick Roditis and Eric Bejaran played tremendous all game long, despite a few big plays from the Trojans' running game.

“We gotta get better because we can’t win a league title like this. Once we get settled down, we will be okay; we will get better,” Tyler said. “We struggled at times, but we never gave up and I am very proud of them.”

Wyatt Clapper struggled in the first three quarters going 4 for 14, with three interceptions, but when it came to crunch time, the quarterback led his team back into the game completing his next three passes that included a 22-yard connection with Drew Lewis that put the Pride up 29-28 with 7:57 left in the game.

“I can’t let it get me down; we have to be mentally tough.  We worked to stay in it and kept egging; I told them we could score more and we had big players step up,” Clapper said about his team's fourth quarter comeback. “We have a lot of work to do, because three pics makes you look like you’re not ready for the season; but you have to learn from it to help grow and I will use it to fuel and come back next week.”

Drew Lewis ended the game with six carries for 149 yards, including a rushing TD and a receiving TD. Logan Wolfley added 143 yards on 15 carries for the game. Clapper ended 7 for 17 with 1 TD and three interceptions.

Pitman put up another TD after Mario Lewis busted inside for one yard. Lincoln then followed as they tacked on the score to tie it at 36 apiece with 3:32.

With less than three and a half minutes left in the fourth quarter, Lewis, once again went for broke with a  52 yarder to end the tie and put the Pride up for good to end their second game in a shootout.

Pitman High will visit Modesto next Thursday and the game is set to begin at 7:30 p.m.