CALIFORNIA — After a tough 21-0 loss to the Southern Boone Eagles, the California Pintos are ready for their rematch against the Boonville Pirates.
Boonville is coming off of a 30-14 win against Hallsville.
The last time these teams squared off, California won 21-14 back in September.
In that matchup, California trailed Boonville 7-0 but the Pintos scored 14 points in the first quarter to take a 14-7 lead. The Pintos added to their lead with a touchdown right before halftime to make it 21-7.
Boonville made a comeback attempt as they scored a touchdown with 1:36 left in the game to make it 21-14 before recovering an onside kick. The Pintos defense stood tall as they stopped Boonville on a final desperate Hail Mary attempt.
When it comes to getting ready for tonight's first-round matchup in Class 3 District 4, California coach Derek Scroggins said the message the coaching staff is sending to the players is to keep the same level of determination that they've had all season.
"We've done a great job of staying determined despite the various hurdles we have faced," Scroggins said. "Our kids have improved each week and now we are playing for real, because if we don't win then we don't get to keep going. Our kids have bought into it and seem focused, dialed in and enthusiastic about our chances.
"We told the boys that beating a hard team is tough the first time and it is very hard the second time, so (Boonville) is going to be fired up and ready to go. We have to make sure that we match their level of intensity and end up executing."
Kickoff between No. 4 seed California and No. 5 seed Boonville is scheduled for 7 p.m. tonight in California.
In their first matchup Scroggins, said the Pintos were able to exploit some things Boonville was giving them before halftime. Scroggins said the team will have to be locked in and focused.
Boonville (5-3) has changed a little bit from what they showed the Pintos in their first game.
"They have changed a little but the opponents they played are a little different as well," Scroggins said. "After us they had wins against Osage, Versailles, and then Hallsville they had a little bit of different road than what we had. They haven't added anything new. They have kind of reduced things but that could be based off the competition they were playing as well.
"We are expecting something pretty similar to what they did the first time. And just like with us, they have gotten better each week so it should be a pretty good matchup."
When the Pintos are on defense, Scroggins said they might see a similar type of offense but with more of the running game from Boonville this time around.
"They still like to try to throw the ball; their quarterback is a good athlete," Scroggins said. "They utilize one of their taller athletes a little bit more in the passing game than they did the first time. But really it will be pretty much the same type of thing."
On offense, staying on their blocks and blocking to the whistle are going to be keys for California (6-3).
"(Boonville) has a really good defensive line and I feel like we have a really good offensive line, so our big boys will do a good job of opening a hole, I believe, and our running backs will do a good job of going through them," Scroggins said. "I also think our passing game is going to come into play. And I think we have the right guy throwing and the right guys catching, and I believe that those things will work out for us."
The winner of tonight's matchup will face top-seeded Blair Oaks next Friday night in the district semifinals.