Friday night's match-up between the Pitman Pride and the Buhach Colony Thunder came down to two big plays – a blocked punt, and an 88-yard touchdown run.
Unfortunately for the Pride, both of those plays went in the Thunder's favor, handing Buhach Colony a 10-0 victory.
“We couldn't consistently do what we needed to do to win,” said Pitman Head Coach Tom Tyler.
The defensive struggle saw neither team score in a tight first half, as both teams forced turnovers to stymie their opponents' drives. Outside of the aforementioned 88 yard run, the Pride didn't let Buhach Colony's offense breath throughout the game; players were making tackles, covering their men, and shutting down one of the conference's best quarterbacks in Darin DuPont.
“We played good enough defense to win,” Tyler said.
The Bulldogs came closest to scoring with 1:36 left in the first half, as a 34-yard Eddie Bravo field goal attempt sailed wide after a Thunder defender got a hand on it.
The Thunder were forced to punt on their first drive of the second half, pinning Pitman at their own 15. After a three-and-out, Buhach Colony blocked the Pride punt, recovering the ball just nine yards from the Pitman end zone.
“That blocked punt hurt us,” Tyler said.
The Pitman defense held strong, thanks in large part to a big tackle for loss from junior defensive lineman Josh Vercelli on a third-and-goal from the 1 yard line. But the field goal attempt was good, putting Pitman down 3-0 – and for good.
On the Thunder's very next possession, senior running back Quintin Levesque broke free from the Buhach Colony 12 to dash 88 yards along the right sideline. The big run, and ensuing PAT, put the Thunder up 10-0.
Pitman showed signs of life in the fourth quarter, converting two fourth downs on a last-chance scoring drive, but the drive fizzled after a disputed incomplete call on a ball Bravo appeared to have caught. Myriad Pride penalties, from false starts to holds, squelched any chance at a comeback.
The Pride (4-2, 0-1 CCC) will look to bounce back next week, as they take on Atwater High School (4-2, 1-0 CCC) at 7 p.m. on Friday, at Joe Debely Stadium in Turlock. Atwater beat Golden Valley 19-14 on Friday.