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story.lead_photo.caption Tagen Higgins of California runs with the football during a Tri-County Conference game earlier this season against School of the Osage at Osage Beach. Photo by Alison Schneider/Special to the News Tribune

CALIFORNIA — The California Pintos are looking to get back in the win column after falling short in a comeback attempt last week against the Eldon Mustangs.

The Pintos (1-5) lost to the Mustangs (1-5) 44-36. Tonight, California will host the Hallsville Indians (4-2).

Hallsville is coming off a 35-0 home loss to Blair Oaks.

The Pintos have given up 40 or more points in four of their losses this year. In its game against Eldon, California allowed 36 of those 44 points in the first half. California's defense played a much stronger second half where it only gave up eight points and also recovered a fumble. The Pintos struggled against the run game of the Mustangs as California gave up 460 yards rushing in the loss.

The Pintos will face a team in the Indians that has scored 30 or more points four times this year and has scored 40 or more points in a pair of games.

California coach Derek Scroggins said fundamentals are something the team is working on to improve the defense.

"Trying to get lower and trying to make sure we form tackle instead of arm tackle," he said.

The Pintos offense scored a season-high 36 points last week. This was the second week in a row California has scored more than 30 points. Before California's win Sept. 27 against Versailles, the most points the team had scored was 14. That came Sept. 13 in a 20-14 loss to School of the Osage.

California's sophomore quarterback Calen Kruger had a strong performance in the game against Eldon, as he had four total touchdowns in the game — three running and one passing.

Scroggins said Kruger has been improving with experience for the Pintos.

"He has been great," Scroggins said. "He takes his job seriously, he works hard to improve and he gets better each game."

Heading into tonight's game, Scroggins said Hallsville has a lot of speed and is a good team.

"They play disciplined football and they go hard," Scroggins said.

Execution continues to be a focus point for the Pintos.

"We've got to make sure that we are executing and take care of the things that we need to take care of," Scroggins said.

The Pintos are looking pretty healthy going into this week's game as they avoided any big injuries last game.

Related Media: California Pintos Football Podcast [Hallsville preview, Oct. 11, 2019]

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