TURLOCK -- Drew Lewis kept searching for a running lane, hoping to turn his interception into points.
The Pitman junior knifed through the Tokay offense searching, searching, searching only to get swallowed up near the 32-yard-line.
"I was thinking house," Lewis said following a 49-19 victory in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 1 playoffs. "I wanted to get one for the defense. We've been working so hard. I wanted to show the offense that we could hang, too."
Moments after his interception, in a huddle along the sidelines, Lewis received a lesson in the highlight-reel touchdown.
His instructor: Brent Nelle, Mr. Explosion himself. Nelle rushed for 258 yards and three TDs, and set the tone for this playoff rout with a 74-yard scoring run in the first quarter.
The senior with a blonde streak dyed into his brown 'do thrived in the cutback lane. During his long touchdown scamper, he reversed field near the line of scrimmage and jumped into a jet stream. With a stiff-arm near midfield, he sprung into space and just like that Pitman, a controversial No. 6 seed a week ago, was making second-round plans.
"In the past couple of years in the (Central California Conference), there's been a change in how people play us. How they defend the things that we like to do," Nelle said. "So for us, tonight, the big thing was tempo. They weren't ready for our tempo.
Those guys don't understand our offense."
It's certainly hard to predict. Wearing its gummy green jerseys, Pitman showed flashes of the Oregon Ducks, blending team speed, depth and sheer explosiveness into chunk plays. Nine players carried the ball on Friday night, piling up 407 rushing yards.
Fullback Kody Brackett, the hero in last week's Harvest Bowl victory over Turlock, had 10 carries for 41 yards and a touchdown.
Mario Lewis helped put the game away in the third quarter, scoring on runs of 3 and 5 yards as Pitman stretched its lead to 49-13.
Logan Wolfley also had a touchdown, weaving his way through the Tokay defense for a 25-yard score.
But the game took on Nelle's personality. The wingback carried the ball 16 times and scored on gains of 3, 74 and 6 in the first half.
"He goes both ways, so that guy gets a lot of work," Harris said.
Lost in the blowout was another complete effort from the defense.
The Pride forced three turnovers, sacked Kelse DePauli-Wiltse (11-of-27, 128 yards, one TD, two interceptions) twice and pinned Tokay inside its 50 for most of the third quarter.
Lewis recorded his third interception in two weeks, and gave his best Brent Nelle impersonation on the return.
Only Nelle's usually end up in the end zone.
Stout defense by Pitman's Brent Nelle (James Burns)
Pitman's Mario Lewis scores his second TD (James Burns)
Pitman's Mario Lewis scores his first TD (James Burns)
Pitman's Kody Brackett scores a touchdown (James Burns)
Pitman's Brent Nelle takes it to the house against Tokay (James Burns)