“It meant a lot to us because we knew it had a bearing on how we would be seeded. We want to come out and play in a way that we can be proud of every week, and we wanted to avenge last season’s loss,” said Galli. “It was a sloppy game last year and we lost. This year it was a sloppy game and we won.”
The Pirate defense did a phenomenal job of shutting down the potent Panther rushing attack, limiting Antioch to just 43 rushing yards on 35 attempts. Antioch senior running back Tim Thomas, one of the most explosive players in the league, was made a non-factor by a stingy Pittsburg defense that limited the star back to just 19 yards on 16 carries.
Although hampered for much of his senior season with a nagging hamstring injury that severely limited his work this year, Thomas rushed for more than 1,500 yards as a junior last year. That Pittsburg held the explosive rusher to an average of just over one yard per carry is still an impressive accomplishment.
On the other side of the ball, the Panthers simply had no answer for the outstanding play of junior quarterback Mario Hill and senior running back Monte Davis.
Hill threw for 123 yards on 9-of-18 passing, connecting with wide receivers Justin Britton, Michael Adan and Charles Barnes on touchdown passes of 19, 34 and 13 yards, respectively. Adan led the Pirates with 51 receiving yards on three catches and Britton hauled in two passes, including the touchdown, for 36 yards.
“Coming into his first year as a varsity starter, he’s got full command of this offense and he gets better and better every week. And he still has a lot of upside,” Galli said of his young quarterback. “He’s a second team all-leaguer and he’s still got a lot of room for improvement.”
Davis carried the ball only 12 times against the Panthers but made those carries count, racking up 102 rushing yards to lead the team. Junior Avery Patterson helped Davis carry the load, rushing for 37 yards on nine attempts.
Pittsburg heads into the North Coast Section 4A East Bay playoffs seeded sixth, and will host No. 3 seed California (9-1) in the opening round on Saturday, Nov. 17 at 7 p.m.
“We have a new season upon us now,” said Galli. “We played some pretty formidable opponents and we think that our strength of schedule has us well prepared to make a run deep into the playoffs.
“I’ve never been a big fan of the EBAL. All they do is play each other and talk about how good the league is. But this is a very formidable football team and they’re going to present a lot of challenges for us on the field.”