The Pintos snapped a 21-game losing streak Sept. 27 at their homecoming game, and students and fans spilled onto the field to celebrate the 33-30 win over the Versailles Tigers.
The win was the first for the Pintos under head coach Derek Scroggins. The Pintos last win was a 12-8 win over the Warsaw Wildcats on Sept. 1, 2017, at California.
Scroggins said the win showed what the team is working on is paying off.
"We just (have) to have patience and believe in the process," Scroggins said.
The Pintos scored a season-high 33 points in the game, the most points the team has scored since Sept. 28, 2018, during a 46-35 loss to Eldon.
Versailles' quarterback Coby Williams scored the first touchdown of the game on a short run to give the Tigers a 7-0 lead in the first quarter.
California got on the scoreboard in the second quarter as Tagen Higgins scored on a short touchdown run to make it 7-6 with 11:42 in the quarter. However, California could not convert the extra point attempt.
Shortly after, it looked like Versailles would score again as they were able to get into the Pintos' red zone. But the Pinto defense would get its first interception of the game as Ian Peterson made a diving catch for the pick at the California seven-yard line. California's offense could not get much going after the pick and had to punt from deep in its territory. A short punt gave the Tigers good field position. Versailles moved quickly, and Williams scored on a five-yard run to make it a 15-6 game after the two-point conversion with 1:45 left in the first half.
Versailles had a chance to add to the lead after another punt by the Pintos, but Williams' pass deep down the right side of the field was deflected and intercepted by Clayton Winkler near California's 20-yard line with around 30 seconds to go in the half.
California got close to midfield before Calen Kruger threw an interception of his own around the Pintos' 43-yard line. California played some tough defense and kept it a one possession game at halftime.
Versailles started the second half with a short kick, which California returned to the Tigers' 36-yard line. One play later, Kruger kept the ball himself and ran for a 36-yard touchdown, and California made it a 15-13 game after the extra point.
Later in the third quarter the Pintos took the lead for the first time, as Higgins scored his second touchdown of the game on a 20-yard touchdown run to give California a 19-15 lead with 4:55 left in the quarter. Versailles answered back quickly to retake the lead at 23-19 after Coby Williams ran it in for his third touchdown with just over a minute left in the third quarter.
The running game was big for the Pintos in the win. Scroggins said the team kept taking steps in the right directions when it came to running.
"Last week, we had 35 times where we were one block away," Scroggins said. "Today, it is a lot less because we got away; so like I said it is just believing in what we are doing, that is all it is."
The Tigers looked to extend their lead in the fourth quarter but had to punt the ball away around California's 40-yard line. The Pintos were pinned deep as Versailles downed the ball inside the Pintos' five-yard line. On third down and long, Kruger was able to break a big run all the way down to the Pintos 29-yard line. Later in the drive, Kruger again used his legs to keep the drive alive on third down as he got to California's 41-yard line. The drive would end with a big 26-yard touchdown run by Higgins as California took a 26-23 lead with 4:34 left in the game.
Versailles answered once again as they got into California's red zone quickly. On fourth-and-five from the Pintos' nine-yard line, Versailles scored to take the lead on a diving catch with 1:37 to go in the game.
California returned the kickoff to the Versailles 30-yard line and had the ball inside the Tigers' red zone with 37 seconds left. The Pintos stayed alive, after a short run on fourth-and-four was just enough to get the first down. Higgins gave the Pintos the lead for good with a six-yard touchdown run with 14 seconds left to make it a 33-30 game. Versailles got the ball to its 39-yard line, but the final play would fall incomplete.
California's next game is at the Eldon Mustangs (0-5) on Oct. 4. Eldon is coming off a 56-6 loss to Blair Oaks.