Sometimes in life you are simply the victim of a good, old fashioned beat down, as was the case Friday night for the Pitman Pride (5-1, 1-1) who lost their first game of the year 47-6 to the Merced High Bears (5-2, 2-0) at Veterans Stadium in Merced.
It was the worst loss for the Pride since the 2011-12 season when they lost to Pleasant Grove in the second round of the playoffs 45-0 under then Head Coach Brandon Harris.
Coming into the game many predicted a Merced win, but by 41 points? After all the Pride were undefeated and ranked 19th in the Sac-Joaquin Section and the Bears were ranked 10th with two losses.
Prior to the blowout defeat, Pride Head Coach Tom Tyler agreed the game was a test or measuring stick for his defense and his team coming in. The Pride has been ranked the top defense in the Central California Conference, giving up little more than two touchdowns a game combined with non-league games.
But the defense never really had a shot, thanks to three first half offensive fumbles and three punts, helped the Bears get off to a 33-6 lead by the end of what can only be described as a nightmare of a first half for the Pride.
The Pride’s lone touchdown came with exactly two minutes left in the first half when junior quarterback Matt Carrigg connected with junior tight end Sinue Cortes for a 6-yard touchdown pass.
In the second half, the Pride were able to move the ball somewhat but any semblance of scoring drives were cut short by the Bears’ relentless pass rush, who had five sacks on Carrigg in the game.
Talking about his early season concerns for his team, Tyler noted that the 2014 Pride youth was a big question mark.
“Well we are a young team and you never know what you’re going to get,” he said.
This game was an example of that statement. The Pride simply couldn’t get much of anything going right.
Despite the tough game, a few players were at least able to gather some respectable stats. Junior running back Blake McBay had 15 carries for 93 yards and fellow running backs Ryan Yniquez had 46 offensive yards on 8 carries and a reception, and Quentin Hernandez had 35 yards on 11 carries. Senior receiver Donovan Bravo had two receptions for 28 yards. On defense, Cortes had an interception.
Next week the Pride will play at Golden Valley, who is 0-7 after a loss to Atwater on Friday night. Hopefully the Pride can brush this loss off and look forward to their next game against what should be a much easier opponent — but then again this is the CCC and from week to week any team can win.
The junior varsity Pride won 42-28.