It was billed as a match-up of two high-powered offenses.
Only one of those offenses showed up at Modesto's Chuck Hughes Stadium Thursday evening, as the Pitman Pride rolled the Modesto High Panthers 63-12.
The Pride got out to a monstrous early lead, going up 21-0 less than 8 minutes into the game.
Pitman struck first with a 5-yard Logan Wolfley touchdown sweep to the right. Mario Lewis then scored on a 9-yard run to the middle, trucking through a Panther defender and stretching out for the touchdown. And minutes later, Chance Hagar ran in from 31 yards out.
The Pride shut-down Modesto's pass-happy offense, which scored 74 points just two weeks ago.
“I thought we did a real good job defensively,” said Pitman High first-year head coach Tom Tyler, who had served as the Pride's defensive coordinator for the past four seasons.
But Tyler still thought his Pride could have done better, pointing to at least three blown plays during Modesto High's 82-yard first-quarter scoring drive. That drive was capped by a 6-yard Antonio Perez run, with the point-after missed.
Outside of that drive, Panthers QB Tiki Tonga was completely stymied by the Pride's starting defense. Hagar intercepted Tonga twice in the first half, with Dylan Alves adding on a third interception in the end zone to quell a strong Modesto drive.
“We knew that (Tonga) liked to scramble a lot, so we knew we had to stick to our man and help our teammates out,” Hagar said.
During the game, the Pride's suffocating defense forced four three-and-outs from the Panthers.
Pitman scored once more in the first quarter, on a 50-yard Wolfley sweep to the right. And the Pride only stretched their lead further in second quarter, with Lewis punching in a touchdown from the 1-yard line and Wyatt Clapper completing a 14-yard touchdown pass to Justin Van Fleet.
Pitman secured a 49-6 halftime lead on the back of a spectacular Clapper completion to Donovan Bravo for an 88-yard touchdown, where Bravo snatched the ball out of the hands of a Modesto High DB. Bravo, who is also the Pride's kicker, converted the extra point as well.
The second half continued the trend, with Hagar scoring his second touchdown on a 31-yard run with a huge cutback, leaving three Modesto High defenders standing still. Even when things appeared to go wrong on a botched snap for the extra point, Hagar picked up the ball and ran it in for a two-point conversion.
Pitman began playing its second- and third- string players after securing the 57-6 lead. A running clock was used in the fourth quarter, due to the massive Pitman advantage.
Modesto's starters would score once against Pitman's second-team players. But Pitman's backups would get on the board as well, with Michael Manzo scoring on a 1-yard rush.
“I was really proud of the guys that came in,” Tyler said. “The offense moved the ball, and defense stopped the ball.”
With the 63-12 victory, the Pride remained undefeated (3-0), while the Panthers lost their first game (2-1). Entering Thursday's game, Pitman was ranked No. 99 in the state by high school football gurus MaxPreps.com; Modesto was ranked No. 393.
The Pride will next face the mysterious Oakland Tech Bulldogs (1-1) at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 20, at Joe Debely Stadium. To some extent, Pitman will be facing the team blind; Oakland Tech has welcomed a new head coach, and tape of the Bulldogs is hard to find in the Central Valley, Tyler said.