With just 12 minutes left and clinging on to a 7-6 lead Friday night in the season opener against the California Pintos, the Boonville Pirates football team knew if they could escape whatever the Pintos threw their way in the fourth quarter they may just come away with the win.
However, the Pintos threw everything but the kitchen sink at Boonville in the fourth quarter while putting together two scores en route to a 18-7 victory.
While the loss brings back memories of last year as the Pirates dropped their first game but then reeled off 10 straight before losing to Osage in the second round of the playoffs, the game Friday night may have hurt a little more as far as seedings in the district playoffs are concerned. With the Pintos in the same district as Boonville this season, California now has a leg up depending on what happens for the rest of the season.
Nonetheless, Boonville Pirates football coach Devin Brown said this was just one game and there are nine more to go.
"You are guaranteed 10," Brown said. "This was big as far as the district stuff but we have to play next week and win. I knew this was going to be a close game. To me even though it was 18-7 I count it as 12-7 because they punched one in late. We just have to get better and get ready for Higginsville next week."
While the Pirates took it on the chin on the road, the Huskers were victorious in their home opener against the Concordia Orioles 48-6. If you remember back to last year, Higginsville is coming off a second place finish in Class 2 after losing to Lamar in the championship game 49-19.
Of course neither team did much in the first half Friday night at least offensively. With a total of 10 possessions, Boonville and California punted the ball six times. The Pirates also had a pass picked off in the first half and one possession go back to California on downs. As for the Pintos, they had one possession result in a Boonville touchdown when senior Kelsey Callaway literally took the ball away from the California running back and run it in for a 37 yard score with 6:38 left in the second quarter to go up 7-0.
The rest of the game was like a bad dream for the Pirates as California came back and reeled off 18 unanswered points in the second half.
But even then Boonville had a chance while leading 7-6 at the end of the third quarter. With three starters on the sideline during a 13-play drive either from injuries and cramping due to the heat, the Pintos marched the ball downfield to the Boonville 10 before punching it in on a pass from sophomore quarterback Jaden Barr to junior Dylan Alberts with 1:53 left in the third.
Page 2 of 3 - That's the bad news. The good news is that California missed on the PAT as Boonville still led 7-6.
Of course it was all downhill after that as Boonville punt the ball on its next-two possession while California scored on back-to-back drives, the first coming on a 6-play, 65-yard drive with 7:46 left in the game. The 1-yard run by Barr gave California it's first lead of the game by a score of 12-7. Meanwhile, after another Boonville punt, the Pintos hit paydirt again on a 10-play, 58-yard drive which was capped off by a 2-yard run by Barr with 55 seconds left to make it 18-7.
Boonville never mounted any real threat after that while giving up the ball on an interception at mid-field with 15 seconds left in the ballgame.
Brown said it all started when the players started missing tackles and then they got a little tired.
"We weren't that bad but then we got a little fatigued and missed some tackles," Brown said, "and then the offensive line started getting beat up front. I think the starters on both side of the ball will tell you that they didn't help each other by sustaining drives. You have to be able to sustain drives.
"I really didn't know what kind of a team we were going to have going into the game. You always wonder. We got into it, we played and we got after it and that is what I wanted to see. I wanted to see if we would compete and see what kind of guys we have. But offensively we just have to start moving the ball."
While only seven points separated the two teams last year, with Boonville winning 7-0, the game Friday night was dominated on the ground by the Pintos, who finished with 311 yards compared to just 138 for the Pirates.
California also finished the game with 18 first downs and 3 of 6 in passing for 71 yards for a total of 382. As for Boonville, they were 7 of 18 passing for 95 yards for a total of 233.
Individually, Kelsey Callaway led all rushers for California with 11 carries for 76 yards. Dakota Meyer had six carries for 36 yards while Damario Walker added three for 15 and Jacob Francis three for 11.
Francis also completed 7 of 18 passes for 95 yards and two interceptions.
Walker was on the receiving end on three of those passes for 75 yards while Jay Barnhart added two for 12 yards, Tyler Peterson one for 7 yards and Kelsey Callaway one for 1 yard.
Meanwhile, on the defensive side of the ball, senior Jalen Poindexter led the Pirates with 10 solo stops and six assisted tackles for a total of 16.
Tyler Peterson had eight solo stops and four assisted tackles, followed by Kelsey Callaway with seven solos, two assisted and one fumble recovery, Dakota Meyer with six solos and three assisted, Jay Barnhart with six solos and two assisted, Damario Walker with five solos and three assisted, Jared Oser with four solos and four assisted, Jacob Francis with two solos and six assisted, Tanner Green with three solos and three assisted, Kyle Cook with one solo stop and four assisted, Jordan Bledsoe with one solo stop and four assisted tackles, Andrew Broyhill with three assisted and Nolan Murray with one solo stop.
Page 3 of 3 - For California, senior Anthony Price rushed 12 times for 124 yards while Jerry Lutz added 15 for 56 yards.
Jaden Barr, meanwhile, completed 3 of 6 passes for 68 yards. Dylan Albertson had two for 46 yards while Garret Baquet hauled in 1 for 22 yards.
As for the Pintos' defense, Scott Porter had five solos and four assists while Lutz had four solos and three assists, Logan Rowles three solos and four assists and Albertson with four solos and two assists.