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Pintos fall to Southern Boone in Overtime Thriller

by Evan Holmes | September 13, 2023 at 4:00 a.m.
Democrat photo/Evan Holmes Senior Ayden Bryant picks off a pass for an interception and return against the Southern Boone Eagles.

In a much-anticipated matchup on Friday night, the California Pintos played host to their conference rival, the Southern Boone Eagles.

California began the game on the offensive end and got into the red zone off of two 20+ yards run by senior wide receiver Ayden Bryant and senior running back Colin Althoff. Southern Boone forced California into a third-and-long, but quarterback Walker Friedmeyer escaped a pass-rush and found senior tight end Chase Schlup in the corner of the end zone for a 13-yard touchdown.

With the score 7-0 going into the second quarter, Southern Boone got on the board with a rushing touchdown by running back Brady Dapkus. However, the extra point was no good, allowing California to remain in the lead 7-6.

On the ensuing kickoff, California's return man, Brooks Volkart, took the kickoff and ran 73 yards down to the Southern Boone 12-yard line. Two plays later, Ayden Bryant scored California's second touchdown on a 10-yard rushing touchdown.

Southern Boone tied the game in the final minute of the first half with a three-yard touchdown run by Dapkus and a two-point conversion throw by quarterback Austin Evans to Dapkus. Leaving the score tied 14-14 at halftime.

In the second half, the game turned into a defensive showdown with both teams trading turnovers and scoreless possessions. However, Southern Boone had the momentum for most of the half by denying California their trademark running game between the hash marks.

With less than five minutes remaining in the game, California had the ball on offense and was looking to take the lead. Southern Boone's defense continued to apply the pressure. Pintos quarterback Walker Friedmeyer handed the ball off to running back Tyler Oden on a third-and-13. Oden found a hole to his right and ran the ball all the way to the end zone for a 56-yard touchdown to give California the lead with 2:15 to play. However, the Pintos missed the extra point and gave the Eagles a chance to win the game.

The Eagles completed a passing play for a first down, which was followed by a personal foul penalty on California. The ball was placed at the 12-yard line. Three plays later, Brady Dapkus tied the game 20-20 with a two-yard rushing touchdown with 55.7 seconds left. The Eagles chose to go for a two-point conversion, but were stopped by the Pintos defense to keep the game tied.

The Pintos had less than a minute left and one timeout left to try and win the game. They got down to the Southern Boone 20-yard line, but had to kick a 38-yard field goal for the win with 15.7 seconds left. Southern Boone blocked the kick to send the game to overtime.

In overtime, the Eagles got the ball first and scored a touchdown in two plays. Dapkus scored his fourth touchdown of the night on a 14-yard touchdown run. Southern Boone made the extra point and forced California to score a touchdown to keep the game going.

On the first play of California's overtime drive, Southern Boone forced a fumble on an option running play and recovered the fumble to end the possession and the game. The Eagles walked off the field a 27-20 winner on overtime over the Pintos.

California head coach Kenny Grubb called Friday's game one of the best high school football games he's ever been a part of. He gave respect to the Eagle's defense for taking away the California's running game in between the hash marks for most of the game and admitted that while their players were hard to tackle, that didn't stop his own defense from answering the call when they needed to.

"(Southern Boone) were a very aggressive defense and did a great job of making adjustments as the game went along. I thought our young men battled all night and we continued to find ways to move the ball all night. We cleaned up some penalty issues from last week and we continue to develop our option game. We need to continue to get better up front an can't afford to turn the ball over," Grubb said. "This defense seems to make it interesting every Friday night. We didn't have the success of the past two weeks, but Southern Boone's offense is very proficient and talented. Tackling was better and we continued to show off our ability to turn opponents over. We still have some issues with over running plays, but I think those skill players from Southern Boone are going to create that issue for a lot of opponents this year."

Grubb said the loss didn't affect what California's goal has been all season long, which is to win in the playoffs. Going into next week, Grubb hopes his team will not allow the Southern Boone loss to dwell in their minds and affect their performance in practice.

"This team continues to grow. And as I told them after the game, 'We are a better team now than when we walked out of the locker room.' We have to be careful to manage our disappointment with results and continue to live in the middle of our process. I say it all the time but it is true: we are on schedule to meet our goals and as long as we continue to focus on the process and not on results we are going to be a good football team," Grubb said.

The Pintos will look to bounce back Friday night at Blair Oaks. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

photo Democrat photo/Evan Holmes Senior running back Colin Althoff runs up the middle for a 20 yard gain and a first down against the Southern Boone Eagles on Friday.
photo Democrat photo/Evan Holmes California head coach Kenny Grubb (far left) and the Pintos captains line up at mid-field for the coin toss.

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