The Pitman High Pride improved to 4-0 after a thrilling 28-17 homecoming victory over the North Salinas Vikings (2-2) at Joe Debely Stadium Friday night.
It was the first home game for Pitman since the opening week of the season and the Pride were happy to back on home soil for the contest.
Early on, the game appeared to be headed for a prolonged defensive struggle. At halftime, the Pride led just 7-3 thanks to a laser guided, 37-yard strike from junior quarterback Matt Carrigg to senior receiver Donovan Bravo.
While the time of possession easily favored the Vikings two to one in the first half, the Pride defense played strong, yielding only a 42-yard field goal.
Offensively the Pride couldn’t get their star running back Blake McBay going (4 carries for negative yards), but with a wing-T offense the best remedy is always a healthy dose of patience.
To open the third quarter junior kick returner Tyress Pope returned the ball out to the midfield. Three plays later Carrig again connected with Bravo — this time for a 30-yard touchdown pass to make the score 14-3.
After the defense forced a Vikings punt, the Pride put to together a quick 77-yard scoring drive. Carrigg again connected to Bravo for a 28-yard pass and McBay rushed two times on the drive for 46 yards, the later run being a 31-yard sprint up the middle of the Viking defense for a touchdown to give the Pride a comfy 21-3 lead with 5:25 left in the third quarter.
But the Vikings responded with a touchdown with under two minutes in the third to make the score 21-10 and keep the game in question, that is until under nine minutes left in the game.
With the Vikings driving, linebacker Quinton Coelho came up with a huge sack to force a punt.
On their ensuing possession the Pride marched 95 yards to put the game out of reach for the Vikings. McBay carried the ball three times for 19 yards on the drive and Carrigg once again found his favorite target, Bravo, for a 47-yard play. The drive was capped off by a battling 12-yard touchdown run by Pope to make the score 28-10 with 5:33 left in the game.
The Vikings later added a touchdown but by then the game was already in hand for the Pride.
McBay finished with 127 yards rushing on 11 carries and a TD. Fellow stud running backs Ryan Yniquez and Quentin Hernandez combined to rush the ball for 113 yards on 18 carries.
Carrigg finished the game 7 of 12 passing for 188 yards with 2 TDs and Bravo had 4 receptions for 142 yards with 2 TDs.
After the game Head Coach Tom Tyler told his players that next Friday a whole new season starts as the Pride will play at home against Buhach Colony (3-2) in the first Central California Conference matchup of the season.
“They know they have to get better, we tend to play really well in spurts, but I really like the way our defense is playing,” said Tyler. “The kids are making good adjustments on both sides of the ball.”
As the non-league schedule wrapped up the Pride defense has allowed just 19 points a game and the offense has scored nearly 32 points per game.
Compared to other CCC teams in non-league, the Pride defense has, by far and away, given up the least amount of points — albeit they have played one less game. The next closest team is Buhach at 26.8 points per game.
Next weeks game is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m.