Pittsburg Looks to Build on Momentum After Comeback Win Against Tatum
Pittsburg's second half against Tatum was just what the Pirates needed as a springboard into the rest of the season, because now is when the real fun begins.
Down 22 at halftime, Pittsburg reeled off 35 unanswered points on offense and shut out Tatum defensively in the second half en route to a 41-28 win. It gave the Pirates a big win after consecutive losses to Henderson and Paris, and also a boost of confidence going into the bye week before district starts.
"We've struggled this year early on. We've gotten off to slow starts in all of our games, and that's one of the things we focused on going into last Friday," Pittsburg coach Brad Baca said on Tuesday. "But they got three onside kicks and were able to build a lead. At halftime we said, 'Listen, we're not worried about what the score is. We believe in you, we have a game plan and we just need to execute it.' The guys stayed positive, they believed in themselves and we got the win. It was truly a tale of two halves."
After two wins to start the season, Pittsburg was within seven points of Henderson until 2:40 was left in the game and the Lions came out with a 35-21 win. Pittsburg followed with another tough loss, 38-20 to Paris, so last Friday's win -- and how the Pirates did it -- was just what they needed, Baca said.
"It was a huge shot in the arm for us. We felt like we had the chance to win those other two ballgames, but we just made too many mistakes," Baca said. "It put us on a high and we were able to celebrate all weekend until yesterday. Now we've put it to bed and we're moving on to Atlanta."
Baca is in somewhat new territory as Pittsburg's head coach, as this year is his second season at the helm where he's not coaching his brother, Brian, at the quarterback position.
Junior Jaylon Jimmerson has been a major spark for Pittsburg's offense this season in his second year under center. He has thrown for 789 yards with nine touchdowns to three interceptions, while rushing for 348 yards and eight scores. He accounted for all six of Pittsburg's touchdowns against Tatum, with four coming through the air and two on the ground.
"Coaching Brian was really fun, being able to coach someone you've known your whole life. There's a connection and communication that's already been established, and then you coach someone coming up from the freshman team," Baca said. "We had to get to know each other. I had to understand what makes Jaylon tick and he had to understand my coaching style and communication. We have a really good relationship. The amount of offense he's learned this past year has helped tremendously. I'm ecstatic about having him another year."
Atlanta is the first team that awaits Pittsburg in District 7-4A Division II. The Pirates have won the last two meetings, including a 56-20 victory in the district opener last year. Atlanta was off in Week 3 and will face Tatum on Friday, the second common opponent with Pittsburg. The Rabbits lost to Henderson, 36-0, in the season opener.
"Atlanta's a really good football team and they compete at a high level," Baca said. "We're coming off a big, emotional win but now it's time to put that to bed. It doesn't matter anymore, because now we're in the new season. Now it counts. It's going to be another Friday night battle."