The Panthers (5-4, 2-3) sunk their claws into Ygnacio Valley (4-5, 2-4) last Friday night, beating up on the Warriors 31-7 behind standout performances by quarterback Joey Gonzales and running back Tim Thomas.
Gonzales factored in to each of Antioch's five touchdowns, running for a pair and passing for three more. Gonzales burned YV on the ground early, scoring on runs of seven and one yard, then going airborne for three more. The senior field general completed touchdown passes to Zach Gonzales (31 yards), Adam McAroy and Thomas (both 13 yard completions).
Thomas also featured prominently in the running game, rushing for 158 yards on 26 carries. Running back Josh Garibay, a punishing rusher between the tackles, also played a major role in Antioch's offensive success, carrying the ball nine times for 86 yards.
The Panthers' defense limited the Warriors to fewer than 200 yards of total offense in the game, forcing a pair of fumbles. Antioch was able to capitalize on one of those fumbles, turning it into six points on the Thomas touchdown reception to claim a 24-0 halftime lead.
Despite getting strong performances out of running backs Dave Abrams (14 carries for 91 yards) and Chima Osuka (11 carries for 87 yards), the Warriors didn't manage to find the end zone until the fourth quarter, down 31-0, with the game long out of reach.
Running back Mike Pearson broke off a 37-yard run, down to the Antioch 1-yard line, then punched it home for the touchdown on the next play.
After beating up on the bottom of the BVAL the last two weeks with blowout wins against Liberty and YV, the Panthers face a much more menacing opponent this week to wrap up the 2006 football season.
Pittsburg comes into Saturday's Little Big Game riding a three-game winning streak of its own, earning victories over San Leandro (6-3, 5-2 HAL), Freedom (6-3, 3-2 BVAL) and Ygnacio Valley after losing a heartbreaker to Deer Valley four weeks ago.
This year's Little Big Game will be played at Antioch, with kickoff scheduled for 1:30 p.m.