ATWATER -- Defensive coordinator Kevin Navarra surveyed Buhach Colony's locker room during halftime and he couldn't find one player fatigued.
"That schedule we played, it cost us a few wins, but it got us ready for the (Central California Conference) and more," Navarra said. "You saw our guys. Just as strong in the second half as they were in the first."
Navarra's defense was crucial to the outcome, but running back Stefon Gold was the Thunder's star.
The senior ran for 175 yards and a trio of TDs as No. 3-ranked Buhach dominated No. 2 Pitman 28-7 in the conference opener between rivals.
Pitman was 5-0, while BC was 3-2.
The records didn't matter, but not because of the emotion that led to a half dozen post-play skirmishes.
Pitman's five non-CCC foes were a combined 12-18 and the best of the bunch was 4-3 Enochs. BC beat NorCal-ranked San Ramon Valley in its opener, beat Enochs by 23 and had losses to 6-0 Clovis North and 5-0 Serra the latter on the final play.
"We've played great teams, so we knew what it would take to win this one," said Gold, whose 39-yard dash up the middle made it 6-0 in the second quarter. "You plays teams like we did, you might lose, but you are going to be a better football player."
Pitman had trounced its last four foes by an average of 41 points, after slipping past Enochs 35-31 in Week Zero, and its trap play had been virtually unstoppable as it averaged 56 points each night.
Previous teams tried to attack the trap behind the line of scrimmage, and that left huge holes in the field when they failed to make a tackle. BC reacted to what it saw, with linebackers Steven Strasser and Tyson Coffey flowing to the ball as tackles Kevin Kelleher and Justin Stefan occupied Pitman's linemen.
"We're not big like last season, but we play the same defense, reading and reacting," said Navarra, whose unit also recovered a pair of fumbles at the BC 30. "They have three talented runners over there, but I don't think those guys played the sort of games that we had earlier."
BC's line, led by 6-foot-8, 350-pound Aaron Cochran, opened some huge holes for Gold, Jayce Webster, Leon Miles and the other backs.
Gold's first TD was a trap, with guard Christian Ochoa taking out the linebacker leaving the middle open. No one was home, as the safety had gone in motion toward the sideline with a flyback.
"Jayce, the way my boy's running, that safety had better go with him," said Gold, who added TD runs of 4 and 7 yards in the second half.
After quarterback Joe Marquez hurt his ankle playing defense, junior Darin DuPont took over.
"I saw Joe grab his ankle, so I grabbed our center and started taking snaps," DuPont said. "It felt good to get in there and drive us downfield. It was the first score."
Despite dominating time of possession and limiting Pitman to a handful of first downs, BC was clinging to a 6-0 lead before Gold's 4-yard run in the third quarter.
Gold, who had 100 yards on three carries in the first half, shed two tacklers and carried a third into the end zone on his second TD run.
BC drove 81 yards for and the two-point pass from Marquez to Cody McWilliams made it 14-0. Pitman never got a chance to try and cut its deficit in half, as BC pooched a kickoff and Webster pounced on it at the 50.
Gold busted a 40-yard run outside the tackle, putting it on the 2, and BC eventually went up 21-0 when Marquez found McWilliams running on the back of the end zone.
What appeared to be a QB draw from the BC 7 turned into a TD pass when Marquez, seeing he had no place to run, pulled up and lofted a high toss over a DB's head.
McWilliams toes dug into the green turf long enough for him to control the ball.
"We've been playing those Pitman guys since we were kids in Pop Warner," said Gold, whose Thunder has won back-to-back CCC titles. "Anytime we play, you know there's gonna be pain and emotion. They were unbeaten, but we're the better team. We want CCC again."
Buhach Colony's Stefon Gold scores final TD (Richard T. Estrada)
Pitman's Brent Nelle scores against BC (Richard T. Estrada)
Buhach Colony's Cody McWilliams scores TD (Richard T. Estrada)
Buhach Colony's Cody McWilliams makes diving catch (Richard T. Estrada)
Buhach Colony's Stefon Gold runs for 20-yard TD (Richard T. Estrada)