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California season ends with tough loss to Blair Oaks

California season ends with tough loss to Blair Oaks

October 31st, 2018 by Kevin Labotka in Sports Prep

WARDSVILLE, Mo. — The California Pintos football team season ended with a 70-0 loss to the Blair Oaks Falcons in the first round of Class 2 District 5 play off Oct. 26 at Wardsville. The Pintos finish their season with an 0-10 record.

The Pintos found themselves down 20-0 by the end of the first quarter and the team trailed 48-0 at halftime. Three of the Falcons touchdowns in the first half were over 10 yards. Blair Oaks scored on all of their seven possessions in the first half, as California could not stop the Falcons.

The Falcons scored two more times in the third quarter to make it 62-0. Both touchdowns were over 20 yards. Blair Oaks forced a safety in the fourth quarter and scored one more touchdown to make it the final score of 70-0. California was able to get a stop and force a punt in the third quarter.

In the last two weeks, the Pintos' special teams had been highlights for California, but in this game, the special teams struggled, as they lost a fumble during a punt in the first quarter and a block punt for a touchdown right before the end of the first half.

Blair Oaks finished the game with 386 total yards of offense, while California had only 48 yards of total offense, which is one less yard than they had in their last game.

After such a tough season, head coach Mikel Gragg said the team can take a lot away from it.

"I know the season did not go our way, but they have got a lot to be proud for," Gragg said. "They came in and they put a lot of work in, when a lot of their teammates decided they did not want to come in and they did not want to commit and they did not want to help them.

"This group committed to it; they came in — yeah, it did not go the way we planned, but — they fought each and every week, and that is a hard thing to do when there is a lot of people saying a lot of things about you.

"I couldn't be any more proud of this group. They battle through all the adversity, all the injuries, all the things we could not control."

Looking forward to next year, Gragg said the returning players will continue to focus on getting stronger and faster.

"We were not able to match speed-wise with a lot of the other teams in the conference, so that is one thing we are going to have to work on is our speed developement and make us quicker and make us better athletes," Gragg said.

One of the positives for the season is how hard the team played.

"Our team came together and they played their hearts out all year long," Gragg said. "They put the ground work in, where they are not going to accept people who just come in to play football. They are going have to come in and they are going to have to put in the hard work, if they want to be part of this football team."