One minute and 65 yards—that’s all that stood between Pitman High’s defense and a chance to knock Merced High out of its first place position in the Central California Conference.
It was a high-anxiety game leading up to the Bears’ final drive Friday night. After jumping out to an early lead off a 36-yard Tyrone Williams touchdown pass to Trevante Richard, Merced found itself in a tit for tat battle with the Pride who weren’t ready to let go of their league title dreams.
A Chance Hagar interception set up a Logan Wolfley touchdown from two yards out and made it 7-7 at the half. Pitman took the lead in the third quarter as Mario Lewis punched it in from two yards out, but the game was quickly tied again as Kris Turner-Jackson found pay dirt for the Bears on the ground.
A missed 36-yard field goal from Merced gave the Pride their chance to overthrow the Bears, but the opportunity was missed leaving Pitman’s defense on the field to battle for overtime. As the clock wound down, so did Pitman’s momentum until it was finally crushed with 8 seconds left in regulation as Williams and Richard ended the game as they had started it—with a touchdown pass through the air.
Richard caught the 23-yard scoring jump ball and handed Pitman its second league loss of the season, while all but ensuring a Bear league title in 2013. Pitman will now play for the post-season as it takes on Golden Valley High at home next week before the season finale Harvest Bowl against Turlock.