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story.lead_photo.caption California quarterback Calen Kruger tries to throw the ball on the run while School of the Osage's Kenan Webb tries to tackle him during a game earlier this season in California. Photo by Alison Schneider/Special to the News Tribune

CALIFORNIA — The California Pintos are looking to rebound from a tough 50-21 loss to Hallsville last week as they get ready to face the Southern Boone Eagles.

Kickoff is at 7 p.m. today in Ashland.

Last Friday's loss to Hallsville snapped a four-game winning streak for California (6-2). Running back Tagen Higgins had a pair of rushing touchdowns for 19 and 14 yards against the Indians.

Southern Boone (4-3) is coming off of a 42-21 loss to Blair Oaks for its second straight defeat, dropping the Eagles from the top 10 in Class 3 in this week's Missouri Media Rankings.

California coach Derek Scroggins said going into the game, the Pintos are focusing on executing.

"I hope that we can regroup and learn from the loss and make it so that it only made us better," Scroggins said.

Scroggins said he thinks the team can learn how to overcome adversity from its loss last week.

"After we had that first drive cut short because of some missed assignments and we missed a field goal, Hallsville turned around and scored, and on a kickoff we had the ball bounce off of us on the return and we kind of fell apart," Scroggins said. "So overcoming adversity is going to be huge for us."

When it comes to getting ready for the upcoming game, Scroggins said on offense, the Pintos should be ready for a fast and aggressive Eagles' defense.

Scroggins said California is working on a couple of things the team can look to try to exploit while on offense.

"We are going to work this week on making sure we are capable of doing so," Scroggins said. "We need to be ready for a pretty good battle up front. Our backs have to do a good job of carrying out our fakes. We need to be able to take advantage of receivers they end up deciding to leave open and make sure we are ready for a fight."

When it comes to the Pintos' defense, Scroggins said discipline will be important.

"Southern Boone can run real well and they can pass real well, so we have to be disciplined in all aspects of the game," he said.

Execution has been a big key for the Pintos this season, and heading into tonight's game, Scroggins said the Pintos will also have to play smart.

"Really we just have to play smart and make sure that we don't force ourselves into a bad position with penalties," Scroggins said.

Tonight's outcome will also determine which team receives the No. 3 seed in the Class 3 District 4 Tournament.

California holds the No. 3 seed in the six-team district with 38.17 points, while Southern Boone is fourth with 34.99 points. Regardless of each team's points following tonight's game, the winner will receive the No. 3 seed, due to the MSHSAA rule noting if a lower seed has defeated the seed directly ahead of it, the two teams will switch seeds entering Week 10's first round of districts.

Also with tonight's game, California will become the only Tri-County Conference school to play a full conference schedule of seven games. Each of the other seven teams has lost at least one conference game related to COVID-19 concerns.

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