The California Pintos' football season started on a tough note, as the team lost Aug. 30 to Lighthouse Christian 48-12.
Turnovers were a big part of the game as California turned the ball over eight times in the loss, including six interceptions and two fumbles.
Head coach Derek Scroggins said he thinks nerves did play a factor in the turnovers.
"I think we probably let a little bit of nerves get to us," Scroggins said. "We made a lot of mistakes out there, and I feel our kids are definitely capable of a lot better football. We came out here and unfortunately did not execute the way we are capable of. I believe that comes down to just execution, and the kids kept their heads up and played hard all night and never gave up out there. We just made way too many mistakes to win."
Lighthouse got on the scoreboard first as they scored a touchdown to make it 8-0 one play after an interception. The Pintos would not be able to convert a fourth down attempt on their next possession. But shortly after Lighthouse got the ball, California's defense would force their first take away of the season as Calen Kruger intercepted a pass to give the Pintos the ball.
Unfortunately, California would turn the ball over on the first play of their next possession when a lateral pass went wrong and player miscommunication regarding who would go for the ball led to yet another turnover. Lighthouse ended up scooping the ball and taking it back for a touchdown to make it a 16-0 game with 5 minutes left in the first quarter.
On the next drive for California, the Pintos found some success on offense as they got to Lighthouse's side of the field. But on a fourth-down attempt, the pass by Kruger was intercepted at the 32-yard line.
The Pintos defense would stand strong as they forced a turnover on downs when Tyler Patterson would sack Lighthouse's quarterback to give the Pintos the ball on their own 34-yard line. But another turnover would end California's next drive, and Lighthouse ended up scoring two plays later to take a 22-0 lead with 2:49 left to play in the first half.
The Pintos would end up getting on the board right before halftime to stay in the game. California drove down the field and converted a big fourth and two on Lighthouse's 16-yard line with 37 seconds left. Drake Schlup would then score on an 11-yard touchdown run to make it a 22-6 game with 10 seconds to go in the half. Despite the turnovers, the Pintos were still in the game.
However, the game would start to slip away from California in the third quarter as Lighthouse scored three more times to make it a 42-6 game. The Pintos had some bad luck, as the first touchdown in the second half for Lighthouse came off a deflected pass in the end zone right into the hands of a Lighthouse receiver.
Throughout the game, the offense for the Pintos would move the ball, but a drive ended in a turnover more often than not.
"It seemed that we would regularly move the ball and then we would turn the ball over," Scroggins said. "Unfortunately, we dug ourselves into a hole that we made it hard to try to get out of."
Lighthouse would score one more touchdown to make the score 48-6. California would score its second touchdown of the game in the final minutes, as Logan Parrish scored on a 3-yard touchdown run to make it 48-12 with 3:18 left in the game.
Despite the loss, Scroggins said there were a lot of positives for the team.
"It is going to be learning from our mistakes," Scroggins said. "We were able to settle down in the second half a little bit."
Despite being in some tough positions after turnovers, the Pintos defense caused some problems for Lighthouse.
"We knew coming in that defensively our kids were going to play hard and aggressive, they flew around, the defensive line did a great job, coach (Brandon) Kleithermes had those boys ready to get pressure on the quarterback, and they gave them fits all night," Scroggins said.
California's next game is Sept. 6 at the Mexico Bulldogs (0-1). The Bulldogs are coming off a 20-0 loss to Southern Boone.