The California Pintos traveled to Warsaw Friday night, where they inched one step closer to obtaining their first goal of the season, winning the conference title outright, as they defeated the Wildcats 44-7.
"It's important to keep our momentum going and end our regular season with our first goal, winning the conference championship," California Coach Marty Albertson said. "We have enough talent to carry it off. Our second goal is to win the district championship, so we'll start on that quest next."
The Pintos wasted no time putting a score on the board at Friday's conference game. The Wildcats' first possession came to a sudden halt after just three plays when quarterback Jeremy Eierman was sacked, which resulted in a fumble recovered by California's Dylan Albertson.
The Pintos ensued with a short drive capped with a 22-yard touchdown by Seth Fairchild with 6:38 left in the first quarter. Efrain Torres nailed the kick for the extra point and California led 7-0.
California's next possession resulted in a 75-yard TD pass from Jaden Barr to Nathan Squires. After Torres' PAT, the Pintos led 14-0 with 52 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
The Wildcats' opening drive of the second quarter was cut short when California's Garret Baquet intercepted Eierman's pass intended for Brad Jelinek.
The Pintos capitalized on the turnover via a 12-yard TD by Albertson with 7:12 left in the second quarter. Torres scored the point after and California led 21-0.
The Pintos' next possession ended with an 11-yard TD pass from Barr to Anthony Price. After the PAT, California led 28-0 with 1:12 left in the first half.
With 18 seconds before halftime, the Pintos started a drive at Warsaw's 45-yard line that was capped by a 32-yard field goal by Torres to give California a 31-0 edge at the half.
The Pintos' opening drive of the third quarter ended with a 1-yard TD by Barr. Torres nailed the point after and California led 38-0 with 6:45 left in the third quarter.
The Wildcats' finally caught a break when California's next possession resulted in a fumble recovered by Warsaw. The Wildcats answered with a 44-yard drive that ended with a 1-yard TD pass from Eierman to Jelinek. Jesse Chamberlain nailed the kick for the point after and Warsaw trailed 38-7 with 7:30 left in the fourth quarter.
The Pintos ensued with a 14-play drive that resulted in a 3-yard TD by Allan Burger with 1:01 left to play. The point after failed, but the Pintos came away with the win, 44-7.
"Overall, we were very effective," Albertson said.
With 11 Pintos carrying the ball, Albertson said, "We stay fresh and healthy this way. Football injuries happen when you get tired, so we have an advantage."
The Pintos had 45 rushes for 279 yards and Barr completed 6 of 8 passes for 152 yards.
"Warsaw was giving us short runs," Albertson said. "I think our longest was 24 yards, but that's okay. With our speed, I don't blame other teams for not wanting to kick to us. They're not punting to us much either."
Warsaw had 30 rushes for 41 yards and Eierman completed 7 of 13 passes for 59 yards.
Fairchild led California rushes with eight carries for 69 yards. Price followed with six carries for 67 yards. Albertson had four carries for 37 yards and Walker Borghardt had eight carries for 32 yards.
Price had one reception for 11 yards; Albertson had one for 16 yards; and Squires had one for 75 yards.
Scott Porter led Pinto tackles with one solo and seven assists. Jerry Lutz followed with one solo and six assists. Baquet had four solos, two assists and one interception, and Albertson had four solos and one assist.
The Pintos will play their final game of the regular season at 7 p.m. Friday at Versailles.
"It will be Versailles' last home game and Senior Night," Albertson said. "So we will have to be on our A game. As long as we do that, we'll be fine."