Devan Bass broke out in the second half, rushing for 151 yards and three touchdowns to help the Pitman High offense erupt for 35 points as the Pride opened up Central California Conference play with a 49-34 win over Buhach Colony at Falcon Field on Friday night.
Bass scored on runs of 15, 52 and 49 yards.
“The line helped me out with some great blocks,” said Bass, who finished with 159 yards. “I couldn’t have done it without my teammates. I love my brothers. I couldn’t get stuff done without them.”
Bass needed his teammates’ support at halftime.
The Pitman senior felt he let the team down after two miscues on special teams helped the Thunder (2-4) erase a 14-point deficit late in the first half.
Bass muffed a punt that Buhach Colony’s Isaac Zambrano jumped on to give the Thunder offense the ball at its own 33-yard line with 5:13 left in the second quarter.
Four plays later, Andrew Morris hooked up with Darius Mack for a 39-yard pass to move the ball deep into Pitman territory and help set up a five-yard touchdown run by Alex Andrade.
Buhach Colony pooched the ensuing kickoff that Bass attempted to pick up and fumbled into the arms of the Thunder’s Logan Lemas at the Pitman 20-yard line.
Four plays later, Andrade scored again on a four-yard run. After Morris found Mack open in the end zone for the two-point conversion, the game was tied 14-14 with 39 seconds left in the second quarter.
“At halftime, my teammates told me to flush it,” Bass said. “I had to give it to (teammate Diego Basulto). He told me not to think about it. I was upset. I felt bad. I feel way better now after the game.”
Pitman coach Tom Tyler was happy to see Bass rebound.
“Football is the strangest game,” said Tyler, whose team improved to 4-2 overall. “You have to give Buhach credit. We put them back in the game and they took advantage of it. I could see (Bass) was down. When a kid is asked to handle the ball as much as he is, things like that are going to happen, but he’s a player.”
On Pitman’s opening possession of the second half, Bass capped a seven-play drive with a 15-yard touchdown run to give the Pride a 20-14 lead.
Bass later added touchdown runs of 52 and 49 yards as Pitman broke it open in the second half.
“He got it on there, didn’t he?” Tyler said.
Despite playing without two key two-way starters, Hunter Stefani (foot) and Jace Alcazar (ankle) because of injuries, the Thunder kept charging back.
After Bass’ first second-half touchdown, Brandon Muse answered with a 44-yard touchdown on a screen pass from Morris that gave the Thunder a 21-20 lead with 4:44 left in the third quarter.
“Muse obviously had blockers in front of him, but that was a big-time play by him,” Buhach Colony coach Kevin Navarra said. “He had good vision. It was an aggressive play. He found the open hole and got in the end zone.”
Muse (105 receiving yards) and Mack (107) both went over 100 receiving yards as Morris completed 13 of 19 passes for 224 yards.
The Thunder defense held Pitman to just 111 yards in the first half. In the second half, the Pride racked up 291 yards of offense and scored touchdowns on five of their six second-half possessions. The only time Pitman didn’t score is when it took a knee at the end of the game.
The one time it looked like Buhach Colony had Pitman stopped came after the Thunder stuffed the Pride on a third-and-one with Pitman leading 28-21 with 8:50 left in the game. It looked like Pitman would be forced to punt, however, Lemas was penalized for a delay of game after he tossed the football after the play to give the Pride a first down.
“Definitely bad timing,” Navarra said. “A poor decision. Probably a little frustration.”
On the next play, Bass broke free for his 52-yard touchdown that all but sealed the victory.
It was a disappointing loss for the Thunder, but Navarra was pleased to see his team play until the end. In the fourth quarter, Mack caught a 47-yard touchdown pass from Morris, and Muse added a one-yard touchdown run.
“I think down two starters, I was proud we fought all four quarters,” Navarra said. “We’ve played a pretty tough schedule, and when we were down in some of the games the past couple weeks, I don’t think we battled all the way through like we did tonight.”
Pitman 49, Buhach Colony 34
P – Blake McBay 1 run (De La Riva kick)
P – Ryan Yniguez 1 run (De La Riva kick)
BC – Alex Andrade 5 run (kick blocked)
BC – Andrade 4 run (Darius Mack pass from Andrew Morris)
P – Devan Bass 15 run (kick failed)
BC – Brandon Muse 44 pass from Morris (Zachary Sawyer kick)
P – Yniguez 13 run (Bass run)
P – Bass 52 run (De La Riva kick)
P – Blake McBay 1 run (De La Riva kick)
BC – Darius Mack 47 pass from Morris (Sawyer kick)
P – Bass 49 run (De La Riva kick)
BC – Muse 1 run (pass failed)
Records: Pitman 4-2, 1-0 CCC. Buhach Colony 2-4, 0-1.
JV – Buhach Colony won.