There were plenty of reasons to celebrate Friday night during Pitman High School’s return to Joe Debely Stadium: it was the school’s homecoming game, senior night and, most importantly, the Pride trampled the Atwater High Falcons in a blowout victory, 55-7, to remain undefeated.
“I figured with all the distractions tonight we might be a little bit rusty from the two weeks off, but I was really proud of the way the kids played,” said head coach Tom Tyler. “They did a good job.”
The Pride defense started the game off strong and remained that way throughout, forcing a punt on the Falcons’ first possession of the competition. Pitman’s starting defense only allowed one first down from the Falcons throughout the course of the game.
“Our strength is definitely our defense,” said quarterback Jacob Perez. “We count on our defense to stop the teams, then the offense makes plays. That’s what happens.”
That’s what happened Friday night, with Pitman scoring on their first drive of the game. The seven-play drive led the Pride to the Falcons’ two-yard line, where running back Devan Bass was able to dart into the end zone. After a successful two-point conversion, the Pride led the Falcons 8-0 with just under six minutes left in the first quarter.
After another punt from the Falcons on their ensuing possession, Pitman scored again with two and a half minutes left in the quarter. After a wild 24-yard scramble down the field from Perez, AJ Encalade rushed another 25 yards into the end zone to bring the score to 16-0 after another two-point conversion.
The Pride scored once again with just 40 seconds left in the first quarter, with Bass returning a Falcons’ punt for a 60-yard touchdown and his second of the night. After a failed point after attempt, the score was 22-0.
“When I see the open field I just go up the field, praise the Lord and get that touchdown,” said Bass.
The Falcons’ lone chance to score came in the first play of the second quarter, but a would-be touchdown pass slipped through the hands of Atwater’s Alex Garcia. After a three-and-out from the Falcons, the Pride completed a three-play drive that started at Atwater’s 30-yard line and brought fullback Matt Parker into the end zone on a two-yard touchdown run, making the score 28-0 following a failed point after attempt.
Atwater quarterback Alex Jimenez came out of the game after an injury less than four minutes into the second quarter, but the Pride still had no mercy for the Falcons. Perez snuck into the end zone with six minutes left to play in the half, completing a 13-yard touchdown to give Pitman a 35-0 lead. The Pride scored once more in the half on a three-yard dash by running back Tyler Stout, making the score 41-0 at the half.
“We played well, played physical,” said Tyler. “We didn’t make very many mistakes.”
The Pride’s offensive attacked continued in the second half. On the first play of the third quarter, fullback Willie Burke completed a 62-yard run through Falcons territory and into the end zone. With the score 48-0, the Falcons showed signs of life with their second first down of the game thanks to a helmet-to-helmet penalty called on the Pride.
Atwater’s momentum came to an abrupt halt following a fumble recovered by the Pride, which led to one final touchdown from the Pride to make the score 55-0.
The Falcons weren’t going home without causing some damage; in the final minutes quarterback Andrew Hernandez completed a 28-yard pass to Garcia, bringing the final score to 55-7.
The Pitman Pride is now 6-0 over and 2-0 in the Central California Conference.
“It feels pretty good being undefeated,” said Perez. “We worked pretty hard to get where we are.”
Next week, the Pride will face Buhach Colony at Joe Debely Stadium.