The Pitman High School varsity football team ended homecoming week on a high note with its 50-27 defeat of the El Capitan High School Gauchos Friday night, heading into the last two weeks of Central California Conference competition with just one loss in league play.
The Pride was coming off last week’s 27-14 loss to Buhach Colony, and earning a win this week was a must if the team wants to keep their playoff hopes alive, said head coach Tom Tyler.
“It’s tough because we didn’t play well last week – I mean, we didn’t play bad, it’s just we could play better,” said Tyler. “We worked hard on some of the things we needed to work on, and I thought we did some of those things pretty well tonight.”
The Pride put on an impressive offensive performance for the homecoming crowd, jumping out ahead of the Gauchos in the first half with their first four possessions of the game ending in touchdowns. A 27-yard touchdown dash from running back Antonio Reyes and a four-yard touchdown rush from running back Jakob Partida paired with a two-point conversion gave Pitman a 15-0 lead in the first quarter. In the second, running back Payton Bass tacked on a one-yard touchdown carry, and quarterback Treyton Fair connected with Reyes on a 16-yard touchdown pass to put the Pride ahead 22-0.
The Pride’s top three running backs, Reyes, Partida and Bass, accounted for 360 of the team’s 497 total offensive yards.
“Basically, every time we ran the ball, we were getting at least seven yards,” said Tyler. “You can’t beat that.”
Pitman’s first punt of the game didn’t come until there were less than four minutes in the first half, and on the El Capitan’s ensuing possession, the Gauchos were able to score their first touchdown of the game - a 21-yard touchdown pass to make the score 29-7 going into halftime.
The Pride defense shined in the first half as well, with three forced turnovers including interceptions from Marcus Garza and Joey Vasquez, and a fumble recovery from Lance Bickle. Bickle also had a sack to kick of the Gauchos’ first possession of the game.
“Our defense did really good tonight,” said Bickle. “We were able to shut down the passing game and contain the quarterback inside. It was a really fun game.”
Pitman picked up where they left off after halftime, with Julian Garcia completing a one-yard touchdown run just three minutes into the second half to make the score 36-7. Two possessions later, Pitman’s drive was stopped short when Garza fumbled at the Pride’s own 48-yard line. The ball was revered by a Gaucho and taken into the end zone, bringing the score to 36-14. Pitman responded however, with a two-yard touchdown run from Partida with five seconds left in the third quarter.
“We threw the ball well at times, but we just need to play a bit cleaner football,” said Tyler. “We gave up more points than we should have, but we’re a work in progress.”
Each team scored again in the fourth quarter – two scores from El Capitan, and a 29-yard touchdown from the Pride’s Garza, making the game’s final score 50-27.
Next week at 7 p.m., the Pride will take on Golden Valley at Joe Debely Stadium and the stakes are high.
“I could definitely see us winning the next two games, going to playoffs and making it far,” said Bickle.