The California Middle School football teams opened the 2012 season Sept. 11 at home against Eldon, where the seventh grade defeated the Mustangs 24-14 and the eighth grade won 14-0.
The seventh grade game started off with California's Tobey Dalbey taking a handoff into the endzone for a Pinto touchdown. Running back Cory Friedmeyer got the nod and scored before the second quarter came to an end. In the third quarter, Dalbey scored again, while the Mustangs added their only two scores of the night. Dalbey tacked on one more TD to put the Pintos at 24-14.
California's eighth grade saw both touchdowns scored by Logan Cox in the Pintos' 14-0 win.
"The eighth grade faced a much-improved Eldon team who could move the ball well," California Coach Ed Ziegs said. "However, a stiff Pinto defense when it counted prevented the Mustangs from scoring.
Ziegs said the entire coaching staff was pleased with the wins against Eldon. "In my mind, we are never ready to play our first game and neither is the other team. So when we get into it, we figure the team that can adjust to the other team the fastest will win."
California Coach Scott Loring said, "The boys played hard and defeated a good Eldon team. We showed a lot of heart."
California hosted Warsaw Sept. 18, where the seventh grade won 34-8.
The Pintos won the toss and deferred to the second half. California kicked off to the Wildcats, who went four and out. Dalbey took the punt on the California 45-yard line and returned it for a Pinto TD. Dalbey ran in two more touchdowns, followed by a TD by Kyle Hofstetter and an exciting pick six with seconds left to go in the game.
California Coach Don del Rosario said, "The seventh grade seemed more focused in this game and more confident."
The eight grade Pintos lost to Warsaw 22-16.
California kicked off to the Wildcats and on the first play of the game it looked as if it was going to be a long night for Warsaw as the snap was botched and the fumble was recoved by California. The Pintos drove the ball into the endzone with Logan Cox scoring the TD. Warsaw came back and tied the score with a series of plays, which was countered by a Cox 20-yard TD.
Just before the half, Warsaw tied the score at 16-16. Early in the fourth quarter, Warsaw moved one across for the win, 22-16.
"After looking at the game films, it's easy to see that we could have done a better job of blocking on offense and gap control on defense," Ziegs said. "But it's good to see Warsaw developing a good middle school program again after so many years.
Calfornia Coach David Austin said, "It's this kind of competition that makes us better and in this case sometimes you have to lose to get there."
The Pintos will play at Osage at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 4.