The California Pintos' football season ended in the first round of the Class 2 District 4 tournament after a 49-14 loss to the Lamar Tigers on Nov. 2. The Pintos end the season with a record of 1-9.
The Pintos trailed Lamar 14-0 after the first quarter, though California was able to get on the scoreboard a couple of times in the following quarter. After Lamar scored again to make it 21-0, Drake Schlup returned the ensuing kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown. The Pintos tried for two points afterwards, but were unable to convert. Lamar responded by scoring once again to make it 28-6.
On the Pintos' next drive, California got deep into Tigers' territory thanks to a big run by Logan Parish that got the team near Lamar's 20-yard line. The Pintos scored on a fourth-down pass from Calen Kruger to Dawson Gump on a leaping catch by Gump to make it 28-14 with around seven minutes to go in the first half. However, Lamar would make it a 42-14 game by halftime and would score once more in the fourth quarter to make it a 49-14 final score.
Head coach Derek Scroggins said he was impressed with how the team handled everything the coaches threw at them this season under a new system.
"I feel like they finished off the year an incredibly physical team that gave it their all," Scroggins said. "I think we improved significantly from week one to week 10, which is always the goal. I feel like our seniors did a good job of building the foundation of what we want our program to be, and we look forward to our underclassmen helping us take a huge step forward next year."
Scroggins said the team improved throughout the season when it came to fundamentals and can build on that for next year.
"To go into year two of the program, we feel like fundamentally we got significantly better as the season went along, and we will just be able to build off that," Scroggins said.
For the last couple of games of the season, the scoreboard does not show the full story. The Pintos were in those games longer than the scoreboard would suggest, Scroggins said.
"We definitely competed week in and week out," Scroggins said. "Even in weeks nine and 10, the score doesn't really reflect how the game went. We were in both of those games for an extended period of time. For Blair Oaks, getting able to go into the second quarter tied 0-0. We were the first team to shut them out, I believe, in quite a while in the first quarter. And against Lamar, we were able to go back and score. Even against our toughest opponents, our team showed up and believed we had a chance to win and went out there and competed."
When it comes to returning players, Scroggins said he hopes they are hungry this off season, and that he hopes those returners want to go to the weight room after seeing how strong Lamar was.
"I hope that they recognize that we made some big gains this year, but at the end of the day we don't just want the silver lining, that we want to turn those close losses into wins," Scroggins said. "We want to experience success on the football field, and I believe our kids are going to stay hungry for that and keep working hard."