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Pride sweep past Chavez of Stockton for second season win
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Pride senior halfback Tyler Arnsberg, a last minute transfer from Merced High, returns a kickoff.

From the very start, the Pitman Pride were in firm control of a blowout, 40-7 win over Chavez High of Stockton Friday night.

It all started on the opening kickoff, sailing deep off the foot of Pride senior quarterback – and kicker – A.J. Derr into the waiting arms of a Titan receiver. The Pride swarmed the Titan, knocked the ball loose, and Pitman junior linebacker Nick Renteria came up with the ball.

Just two plays later, 40 seconds into the game, the Pride got on the board with a touchdown run by junior halfback Brent Nelle, who dashed down the right sideline, leaping over defenders for a 20-plus yard touchdown run.

“It was one of those games where we scored early and we kept it rolling,” said Pride head coach Brandon Harris.

The Pride (2-0) never looked back, scoring three touchdowns before the Titans (0-2) notched their first first down – and before the end of the opening quarter. Those scores came on a perfectly-executed QB keeper from Derr, up the middle for more than 30 yards and a touchdown, and a big run from junior fullback Kody Brackett.

Derr credited the outstanding play of the offensive line for his touchdown run – and for the Pride’s success Friday night.

“It couldn’t have been blocked any more perfectly,” Derr said. “As soon as I hit the hole I was out the gate.”

The Pride would score again before the half, on a 38 yard touchdown pass from Derr to Nelle. Derr finished 3 for 5 for 97 yards with a touchdown passing, all of those completions going to Nelle.

Pitman junior fullback Buhbinder Gill scored in the third quarter on a dive from the 1 yard line, and senior halfback Anthony Coffelt scored in the fourth quarter.

The only Titan score came late in the game, on a QB keeper from senior Igarta Rodel, who replaced starting Titan QB junior Marcus Sanders in the second quarter. Sanders, like much of the Chavez offense, was kept in check by strong play from the Pitman linebacking core, with sacks notched by Renteria and senior Kyle Martinez.

In total, the Pride rushed for 265 on 44 carries on the back of their hydra-like rushing attack, with Nelle notching 61 yards, Derr rushing for 47, Brackett rushing for 46, and junior halfback Andres Mendes for 27.  Senior halfback Tyler Ansberg, a star transfer from Merced High, also contributed to the running game with 41 yards on 4 attempts, plus outstanding play at linebacker and on special teams.

The Pride will next face Gregori High School (0-2) at the Downey High Stadium at 7 p.m. on Friday, a program in just its first year of varsity competition.

But on Friday the players weren’t concerned with next week’s opponent – they were happy to remain undefeated at 2-0.

“To go from one win to two wins is a huge deal,” Derr said.

To contact Alex Cantatore, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2005.