The Pitman Pride football team (1-0) kicked off the 2015 season with an unforgettable 36-33 comeback win over the heavily favored Downey Knights of Modesto (0-1) last night at Joe Debley Stadium.
With about eight minutes left in the third quarter, Pitman trailed 26-7 after the Knights relentless passing attack rattled off 26 unanswered points, leaving the Pride frustrated and clawing for answers.
After turning the ball over on downs on their first possession of the second half it seemed as if the Knights were about to finish the Pride off, but thanks to a forced fumble and eventual recovery by junior defensive tackle Rylan Boutelle the Pride showed signs of life.
From that point on, the Pride came roaring back to life and scored 29 consecutive points.
On the ensuing Pride possession fullback Blake McBay exploded for a 42-yard run to set up a 1-yard touchdown run by running back AJ Cheney with 7:23 left in the third quarter.
With 4:08 remaining in the quarter, the Pride struck again. After the defense forced a Downey punt, Pride junior quarterback Matt Carrigg connected with the talented multi-position star Donovan Bravo for a 59-yard touchdown pass to close the gap to just to 26-21 Downey.
Early in the fourth quarter, the Pride’s defensive back Quentin Hernandez came up with a huge interception to stifle a possible game-clinching Downey drive. The Pride offense responded several plays later when Carrigg and Bravo hooked up again, this time for a 35-yard touchdown pass to give the Pride their first lead 27-26 since the opening minutes of the game when they led 7-0.
The Carrigg and Bravo show continued, as the two connected again on a pass play for the two-point conversion play extending their lead to 29-26.
With six minutes left in the game, it appeared as if Downey was going to mount its own comeback but defensive back Devan Bass had other plans when he made an interception on a Downey half-back pass play deep in Pride territory.
A 28-yard run by Hernandez led to another Cheney touchdown run, this time from five yards out to give the Pride a 36-26 cushion.
Downey would post another score with under two minutes, but Pitman was able to run-out the clock and secure the victory.
Pride Head Coach Tom Tyler praised his youthful team’s effort.
“We’ve got a real young team and although we had a lot of mistakes, we got a lot better through this compared to our scrimmage game last week. The defense really stepped it up in the second half. If we keep getting better each week we are going to be in for a good season.”
Picked by many high school football experts to have a lackluster year because of their youthful roster, the Pride played with tremendous grit and determination. Despite three fumbles and numerous mental mistakes and penalties, the team never gave up — even when it seemed as if the game was over.
Of course those mistakes and turnovers cannot continue to happen on such a regular basis if the Pride home to compete for a playoff spot this year out of the always-tough Central California Conference.
Carrigg finished the game with 6 of 11 completed passes, 142 yards passing and 35 yards rushing. Hernandez had 6 rushes for 65 yards and 3 receptions for 74 yards. McBay had 15 rushes for 153 yards.
Next week the Pride take on Lincoln High School of Stockton (0-1), who lost to Stagg High School 56-14, in Stockton. Lincoln went 4-7 overall last year but when 4-1 in league and earned a playoff berth eventually losing to powerhouse Folsom High School 50-14 in the first round of the CIF playoffs.
Video Courtesy of BlackHat Football
Video Courtesy of BlackHat Football