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story.lead_photo.caption The California defense swarms to bring down an Eldon Mustang ball carrier during a game earlier this month at Eldon. Photo by Kevin Labotka / California Democrat.

CALIFORNIA — With the regular season nearing its conclusion, the California Pintos are focused on attempting to improve.

The next opportunity to show progress is tonight as the Pintos prepare to host the Southern Boone Eagles in a Tri-County Conference contest. Game time is 7 p.m.

The Pintos (1-6) are coming off a 38-0 loss to the Hallsville Indians last week, the first time California has been blanked on the scoreboard this season. Southern Boone (5-2) is coming off a a 40-0 loss to Blair Oaks, the No. 1 team in Class 3.

California coach Derek Scroggins said the team is trying to get better each day.

"We are trying to continue to get better each week as we get ready for districts," he said. "We look at it as a nine-game rehearsal until the playoffs and we are just trying to get better each day, from Week 1 to Week 9."

In the last couple of games, the Pintos have had some trouble getting both sides of the ball going at the same time.

In their 44-36 loss Oct. 4 to the Eldon Mustangs, the Pintos' offense had a very good night. But the defense struggled to get stops.

In their loss last week against Hallsville, it was the defense that played well for most of the game while the offense struggled.

Scroggins said in practice the team is starting to click on both sides of the ball. But it is always difficult to predict when both will click during a game.

"It is like we tell the kids, as soon as both sides are on the same page and clicking we are a pretty dangerous football team," Scroggins said. "Really, there is no way to predict when that is going to happen. When you look at what Hallsville does we ended up playing them tougher than anyone that they have played that we saw on film outside of Blair Oaks from a offensive standpoint and defensive standpoint."

California's defense held Hallsville to 18 points in the first half and did not give up a score in the third quarter. The Pintos also recovered two fumbles by the Indians.

Heading into the game with Southern Boone, Scroggins thinks the Eagles will be a fast and physical team.

"They will be ready to play for four quarters, so we know that they had a large group of seniors last year and they are kind of in the rebuild process for them," Scroggins said. "But their program has been established now for the last couple of years and so rebuilding for their side is sitting at 5-2 and so they are definitely a good football team.

"But it is one we feel like we might be able to surprise."

Scroggins said execution will be an important key for the Pintos if they hope to spring a surprise in tonight's game against the Eagles.

"It is all about execution," he said. "That is where we struggled last week, was executing our plays and our fundamentals and so we are focusing on the execution part and we believe that will help lead us to a victory."

Related Media: California Pintos Football Podcast [Southern Boone preview, Oct. 18, 2019]

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