The California Pintos hosted Boonville for their season opener Friday at Riley Field, where they used a strong second half to defeat the Pirates 18-7.
"I was very pleased with our effort," California Head Coach Marty Albertson said. "We started out slow offensively, but I think our four-day weeks in the weight room since December, along with long practices, paid off. We were in better shape and wore them out."
After an uneventful first quarter, Boonville was in scoring position at California's 9-yard line with 9:45 left in the second quarter, when California's Logan Rowles ended the run with an interception.
The Pintos ensued with a 7-play drive that was cut short when Boonville's Kesley Callaway stripped the ball and went on to score the first touchdown of the night for 37 yards. After Liam Tobeler's kick for the extra point, Boonville led 7-0 with 6:36 remaining.
"I was proud our kids didn't hang their heads after Boonville scored," Albertson said. "Instead we came back strong and started getting long runs."
The Pintos got into the scoring action with 1:53 left in the third quarter by capping a 13-play, 88-yard drive with a 12-yard TD pass from Jaden Barr to Dylan Albertson. Though the kick for the PAT failed, the Pintos trailed 7-6, and were just getting started.
"At this point, I thought the game was ours," Albertson said. "We had made some adjustments with our blocking that helped, and by the second half, the kids were used to the speed of the game.
With 7:52 left to play, Barr topped California's 6-play drive with a 1-yard TD. The 2-point conversion failed, and the Pintos led 12-7.
With 6:09 remaining, California started a 10-play drive that resulted in a 2-yard touchdown by Barr with just under one minute remaining on the clock. The Pirates blocked the kick for the extra point, and the Pintos came away with the win, 18-7.
"This was a big win," Albertson said. "We knew it was going to be a test for us. Our offensive line did a great job of opening up holes in the second half, and our defensive played really well, so I'm proud of our kids."
The Pintos had 53 carries for a total of 297 yards. Barr completed 3 of 6 passes for 68 yards.
Anthony Price led California rushing with 12 carries for 124 yards. Jerry Lutz followed with 15 carries for 56 yards. Garret Baquet had four carries for 53 yards, and Seth Fairchild had 10 carries for 36 yards.
Boonville had 26 carries for 130 yards. Jacob Francis completed 7 of 18 passes for 95 yards.
Callaway led Boonville rushing with 11 carries for 76 yards.
Scott Porter led Pinto tackles with five and four assists. Lutz had four tackles, three assists and two interceptions. Rowles had three tackles and four assists, and Albertson had four and two assists.
California will host Mexico at 7 p.m. Friday at Riley Field.
"Mexico is a big 4A school with good size and speed," Albertson said. "They're young with a new quarterback, so it will be a good test. But we'll be ready."
Prior to kickoff, the Parade of Champions featuring the Pinto football players will begin at 5:30 p.m.