Kevin Navarra talked openly about his team’s record coming into Friday night’s Central California Conference game against Pitman.
The Buhach Colony coach clipped out a Modesto Bee article, which pointed out the Thunder’s struggles to stop the run, and posted it to the team’s electronic bulletin board.
“Highlighted a few points,” Navarra said following his team’s 27-14 victory over the Pride at Dave Honey Stadium. “I think the physicality is the one that stood out for us.
“People can only judge you based on what you’ve done. And I’ll be honest with you, right below that article that was written, that’s exactly what it said: ‘People can only judge you based on what you’ve done.’ And so our goal was to come out and prove to people that, you know, we can win a close game and we can play with the big dogs here a little bit.”
While far from a must-win for either team, both teams entered Friday’s game knowing that a victory would make it much easier to the hit the six-win plateau that virtually guarantees a spot in the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs.
Buhach Colony, now 5-3 for the season and 2-1 in CCC play, has two shots to get that sixth win – next week against Merced and Nov. 3 against crosstown rival Atwater.
“We know the talent that we have on our team,” said BC quarterback Clay Abrams. “It’s a tight group and we know our limits, but when people doubt us we’re going to take advantage of it and we’re going to show them that we’re better than what they think.”
The Thunder wasted little time doing that, recovering an onside kick and scoring on a 17-yard touchdown pass from Abrams to LJ Wallace, who has committed to play at the University of Colorado next season. Abrams ran in the conversion to give Buhach Colony an 8-0 lead.
The Thunder let Pitman back into it when it fumbled a punt that was recovered by the Pride. Sixteen seconds later, Treyton Fair hit Antonio Reyes from 40 yards out to make it 8-7.
Buhach Colony stretched the margin to seven with nine seconds remaining in the first quarter when Abrams connected with Isaiah Long from 40, making it 14-7. The Thunder made it 21-7 just 26 seconds before halftime when Abrams found Andres Bernabe from 6 yards out.
Pitman tried to mount a drive in the waning seconds of the half, but Youlas Dickson picked off a Treyton Fair pass just before the intermission.
Fair got the Pride back into the contest when he hit Keoni Souza for a 32-yard score, making it a one-score deficit with 3:07 to play in the third quarter.
Buhach Colony closed out the scoring when Abrams snuck it from 1 to make it 27-14. Abrams was sent backward initially, but a great second effort and a push from his running back allowed him to poke the ball over the goal line.
“Our kids worked hard,” said Navarra. “They had something to prove. Like I said, they believe they’re better than the record they show.”