The California Pintos football team's (6-1) winning steak hit four games Oct. 9 after a blowout 59-13 win over the Eldon Mustangs.
The Pintos took a commanding lead early on the night, piling up 35 points in just the first quarter to pull away early. Four of the five touchdowns the team scored in the quarter were on the ground, as the Pintos ran all over Eldon.
Head coach Derek Scroggins said the offensive line made it easy for the run game to find space throughout the night.
"The offensive line did a terrific job of blocking to the whistle, and our backs did a heck of a job running through the holes they were given," Scroggins said. "They did a good job of covering up the ball and accelerating through the holes. The receivers did a tremendous job blocking down field to finish things and to stretch things from eight-yard runs to 60-yard runs. A lot of good stuff tonight."
After forcing a punt on Eldon's first possession of the game, it only took one play for California to score. Calen Kruger's first score was one for the highlight reels, a 61-yard run from the Pintos' own 39-yard line to the endzone to take an 8-0 lead after a two-point conversion with 10:16 left in the first quarter.
After forcing another punt, the Pintos scored again on their first play of the drive, as Kruger scored on another long touchdown run, this time for 43 yards, with 8:27 left in the quarter to make it 14-0.
Scroggins said the team was able to execute throughout the game, putting up the kind of performance that makes a team want to strive for even further heights.
"It is always fun when you are able to score on your first play on offense," Scroggins said. "I felt like we were able to do whatever we wanted. The kids have stepped up their game each week, and here we are after week seven and we are hungry for more."
The Pintos got a takeaway next, after Kruger provided a positive contribution on the defensive side of the ball with an interception near midfield. Two plays later, the Pintos scored again. This time, it was through the air, as Kruger found Trevor Myers in the back of the endzone for a 19-yard score to make it 21-0 with 6:38 remaining in the quarter.
Near the end of the quarter, Tagen Higgins ran for a 13-yard touchdown to make it 28-0 with 1:46 left in the quarter. Kruger then ran for his third rushing touchdown of the first quarter with another 32-yard gallop to make it 35-0 with 36 seconds left.
On top of the stellar offensive performance, the Pintos defense had Eldon locked down early on, only giving up one first down to its opponents in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the Pintos continued to dominate. Higgins opened the scoring by running for a 17-yard touchdown to make it 42-0 with 9:47 left in the quarter.
Eldon was finally able to get some offense going and got on the scoreboard after driving down the field, punching it in on a one-yard run on fourth down and goal to make it 42-6 with less than 5:00 to go before halftime. After the following kickoff, the Pintos answered right back as Higgins broke free for a 64-yard touchdown run — his third score of the half — to make it 49-7 with 4:33 left in the half. The Pintos added a 20-yard field goal with three seconds left in the half to extend their overwhelming lead to 52-7 at half time.
The Pintos defense was able to get off the field quickly throughout the game. Scroggins said executing was also a reason for the success on defense.
"We played disciplined, we were following our keys, following our reads and we were making tackles in the backfield," Scroggins said. "Good things are going to happen when you do that."
The Pintos ripped off one last big run in the third quarter, as Higgins ran for a 58-yard touchdown — his fourth of the game — to make it 59-7 with 9:55 left in the quarter.
With a running clock, the rest of the quarter went by quickly. California's defense recovered a fumble for its second takeaway of the game. By the end of the quarter, the Pintos still led 59-7.
Eldon scored once in the fourth quarter to make it 59-13, but it was too little too late, as California had victory firmly in control.
California's next game is at 7 p.m Oct. 16. at home against Hallsville (4-3). Hallsville is coming off of a 55-16 loss to Blair Oaks.