Pittsburg High School football

Photo by Angelo Garcia Jr. 

The Pittsburg football team celebrates after winning the North Coast Section Division 1 title over Clayton Valley Charter last week.

Pittsburg High School football coach Victor Galli was impressed with the way his team celebrated after winning the North Coast Section Division I championship 28-14 over Clayton Valley on Nov. 26. After all, it had been 30 years since the Pirates won an NCS crown.

“We’ve been on the other end of the ceremonies and watching somebody else get the pennant and medals and all that,” Galli said. “First time in my 20 years, it feels great. It's just a testament to my great coaching staff and crew.”

For Galli, it’s been a long time coming. He’s been at the helm for the Pirates for two decades, but his family has been rooted in Pittsburg for generations.

Galli was born right across the street from Pittsburg High School at the old community hospital, which used to sit on the corner of School Street and Harbor Avenue. Pictures of some of his family members can be found at the Pittsburg Historical Museum. A small town that housed many blue-collar residents working at the steel mill or out in the Delta waters has always maintained a rich tradition of Pirate football.

“There’s a lot of pride in this program and it's nice to hold up an NCS Division 1 title,” Galli said. “Hope we can represent and still do good things.”

The Pirates were banged up heading into the championship game against the Ugly Eagles. Quarterback Jaden Rashada did not suit up for Pittsburg to nurse a hamstring injury and wide receiver Khai Taylor was ruled out with a concussion.

Stepping in for Rashada was Christian Aguilar – the younger brother of former Freedom quarterback Joey Aguilar. Growing up in Pittsburg, suiting up for the orange and black was something he always dreamed of. But he didn’t imagine his first start would be in the NCS Division 1 championship game.

“You know, I've always been a pirate and it's led up to this moment,” Aguilar said. “It feels great to be that quarterback that brought their team to NCS and won.”

Yet, it seemed like Aguilar had rehearsed this before many times. After Clayton Valley took a 3-0 lead with a Shane Nelson field goal, Aguilar fired back the next drive and culminated with a 16-yard touchdown pass to Rasid Williams to put the Pirates ahead 7-3.

For the game, Aguilar was 21-26 for 206 yards.

Nelson nailed another 37-yard field goal to cut Pittsburg’s lead 7-6. Next drive, Aguilar connected with Williams again – this time for 22 yards – to increase the Pirates’ lead to 14-6 at halftime.

Aguilar completed the trifecta in the third quarter by finding Zack Card in the end zone. Pittsburg led 21-6 with 5:05 left in the third quarter.

Kai Green ran it in for a 33-yard touchdown to add some insurance for Pittsburg. Clayton Valley scored in the closing minutes of the game but Pittsburg held on to win 28-14.

The Pirates will travel to Bakersfield College to play Liberty-Bakersfield on Saturday, Dec. 4, at 6 p.m. in the California Interscholastic Federation NorCal Regional Division 1-A game. The winner of the game will play the winner of Serra (Gardena) and Long Beach Poly in the Division 1-A state title game at 4 p.m. on Dec. 11 at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo.

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