In a must-win game for Pitman High’s football team, the Pride outperformed Golden Valley in their semi-final Central California Conference contest on Senior Night.
The Pride knew they had to win to keep their playoff hopes alive and they came out on a power surge Friday night and dominated the Cougars 42-13.
“Seeing GV on paper, they have put up a fight against everybody in the CCC. I was really sweating coming in because they have a great scheme, good coaches, but they have also struggled with injuries this year,” Pitman head coach Tom Tyler said. “We were hitting it all around, playing really good defense tonight; I was really proud of the guys for that... I feel we did good things.”
The Pride dominance started with the opening drive, as Wyatt Clapper completed a 23-yard touchdown pass to Logan Wolfley. The senior running back would follow with back-to-back rushing touchdowns as he jammed it in for 12 and three yards as the Pride saw themselves up by three TDs by the beginning of the second quarter.
“Senior Night last year went bad and we didn’t want it to happen again. We came out and played as a team. Our line paved the way for us, we have to give all the credit to them; they opened up those holes,” Wolfley said.
Seven plays later, Clapper completed a 16-yard TD to Chance Hagar, followed by a pick-six by D’andre Griffen that put the Pride up 35-0 to end the first half.
“Wyatt also played great throwing the ball, and it all seemed to come together tonight for us,” Wolfley said.
Drew Lewis scored on the second play of the third quarter after busting loose for 51 yards that would be the final score for the Pride.
The tandem of Josh Vercelli, Nick Roditis and Eric Bejaran were the story on the defensive side as they were able to clog the holes, creating havoc for the Cougars' offense all night long.
The Cougars only two scores came in the second half when Pitman brought in their back-ups on defense.
“We played well up front on both sides of the ball; I was really pleased and that’s what we have been looking for. I was nervous coming in because of last week's loss, that was a heartbreaker and it's hard to bounce back especially for kids, but they're hard workers and resilient... they came around knowing it was a big game,” Tyler said.
Pitman’s running back Mario Lewis, who has carried a majority of the load this year, injured his knee on the first play of the game.
Lewis hopes to return for the Harvest Bowl, but if he can't, he said he will definitely be ready for postseason play.
Wolfley finished the game with three total touchdowns, two on the ground and one in the air. Clapper was 4-for-6 with two touchdowns while Drew Lewis added on 133 yards on the ground on 11 carries and a touchdown.
The big game will take place next week at Joe Debely as Turlock and Pitman face off in the annual Harvest Bowl at 7 p.m. Friday night.