The California Middle School football teams played their last games of the season Oct. 16 at Versailles, where both the seventh and eighth grade Pintos defeated the Tigers.
The seventh grade won 16-14. The Tigers led 6-0 when California's Toby Dalbey ran in a 10-yard TD as well as the two-point conversion to put the Pintos ahead 8-6.
Dalbey scored another TD in the second half, and Liam Glenn scored the two-point conversion to give the Pintos a 16-14 advantage, and ultimately, the win.
"The excitement wasn't over yet," CMS Coach Ed Ziegs said. "After scoring eight points on the previous drive and a miscommunication between the receivers, the Pintos ended up with the ball on their 18-yard line. A couple of penalties and a stiff Tiger defense found the Pintos fourth and forever on their 8-yard line. Working out of the flexbone, Dalbey ran the ball untouched up the middle to the Versailles 18-yard line, which saved the probable game-winning touchdown by Versailles. The Pintos failed to score, but their defense stiffened and with a timely sack by Jacob Adams, California ended up with the ball and was able to run out the clock to win the game."
CMS Coach Andy Bieri said, "Overall, I thought the Pinto offense came through, but the defense was not adjusting well to the Versailles edge attack."
CMS Coach Scott Loring said, "The special teams performed well and the backs were giving their all."
CMS Coach Don del Rosario added, "The boys weren't intimidated by the Tigers. Even when things looked bad, they never gave up."
California's seventh grade ends the season 4-2.
The eighth grade Pintos defeated Versailles 22-6.
"Last year we lost 42-6 to the Tigers, so the eighth grade had an ax to grind," Ziegs said.
California quarterback Cory Kramel put the first score of the night on the board with a 1-yard TD run. Sam Kirby scored the two-point conversion and California led 8-0.
The Tigers scored a 5-yard TD, but after a failed extra point, Versailles trailed 8-6.
The Tigers had the ball on their 45-yard line when Pinto Christian Leyva hit the Versailles quarterback hard enough to knock the ball out of bounds at the Versailles 28-yard line. Leyva again sacked the quarterback at the 18-yard line, causing the Tigers to punt. California's Luke Freeman returned the ball to the Versailles 33-yard line. Gunner Baquet topped the drive with a 1-yard TD. After a failed PAT, California led 14-6.
Kramel scored a 1-yard TD in the fourth quarter and Baquet scored the two point conversion, to move California's lead to 22-6.
"This was the best game the eighth grade played all year," Ziegs said. "They have been hot and cold, but they put it all together in this game."
"This was a game of wills," CMS Coach David Austin said. "California came into it wanting to settle a score and the Tigers thought they were playing the same team they played last year, but they were wrong. The eighth grade boys have been out-sized all year by other teams, but they were never intimidated."
The eighth grade Pintos end the season 3-3.