It was a tale of turnovers at Joe Debely Stadium Friday night as the Pitman High varsity football team fell to Enochs High 26-13 in their Central California Athletic League opener.
“I feel like we had moments where we executed well and moments where we didn’t,” Pitman head coach Lance Weckerle said. “We didn’t protect the ball well enough on offense.”
The Pride had seven turnovers on the night — three fumbles and four interceptions — while the Eagles committed four of their own. The mistakes proved costly for Pitman in the end, as the Eagles only scored one offensive touchdown during the game. The rest of Enochs’ scoring plays came courtesy of two pick sixes and a recovered fumble in Pitman’s end zone.
“They rushed the quarterback pretty well and he didn’t have a whole lot of time to sit in the pocket and make a pass,” Weckerle said. “We’ve got to clean up our pass protection. I don’t know if it was us not protecting the ball…we’ve got to look at the tape and see why we were fumbling the ball, too.”
Despite committing six of their seven turnovers in the first half, it was still anybody’s game at halftime with Enochs leading 13-10. The game’s two pick sixes by the Eagles gave them the three-point lead and the Pride’s opponents only had one offensive touchdown during the game that didn’t come until the second half.
Pitman’s defense forced four fumbles and safety Sergio Romo also had an interception.
“Our defense played solid. They played hard and did everything we needed them to do to give us a chance to win the game,” Weckerle said. “We just didn’t finish on offense.”
The Pride’s 10 points in the first half came thanks to a 34-yard field goal by kicker Evan Kiely and an eight-yard touchdown by running back Julian Lindo, who finished the game with 87 rushing yards on 26 carries. Pitman tallied 227 total offensive yards — more than Enochs’ 200 total offensive yards.
In the second half, Enochs’ first offensive touchdown came halfway through the third quarter — an 8-yard run from Christian Cervantes.
Trailing by nine, the Pride put another field goal through the uprights to cut Enochs’ lead down to six in the fourth quarter. Down by just one touchdown, an impressive goal line stand from the Pitman defense on fourth down gave them the ball back with just six minutes left to play, but a fumble by Lindo in the endzone was the final nail in the coffin. The recovery by Enochs made the final score 26-13.
Despite losing their league opener, Weckerle believes the Pride can bounce back and be competitive in CCAL play.
“We’ve just got to come to work on Monday and be focused, ready to rock and roll, get after it and execute,” he said.
The Pride are now 1-5 overall and 0-1 in CCAL play. Next week, they’ll take on Gregori High at 7 p.m. in Modesto.