It was a much different contest for both teams. While the game was lower scoring than last week’s event, the result was the same. Pittsburg beat Antioch 19-13, ending the Panthers’ season and advancing to a second round playoff date against Berkeley.
“This time at Antioch is like no other,” said senior receiver Josh Oseguera. “This team represents the togetherness that the school has. Nobody knows that. I’ve never been a part of something like this.”
Antioch (6-5) scored first when a couple of senior captains connected on a 12-yard touchdown pass. Quarterback Troy Amate hit receiver Anthony Borrelli over the middle to open up a 7-0 lead. The Panthers gave the Pirates a golden opportunity later in the quarter when a bad snap on a punt gave Pittsburg (8-3) the ball inside of the 10 yard line. Pirates’ senior running back Mister Cotton took advantage of the mistake, scoring on a four-yard run.
A shovel pass from senior quarterback Malik Watson to senior running back Fe’ao Vunipola gave Pittsburg the 13-7 lead at halftime. The missed extra point gave the Panthers the chance to take the lead when they scored in the third quarter on a pass from Amate to senior receiver Jeremy Bittle, but Antioch missed the PAT of its own, keeping the score tied at 13.
Watson snuck in from two yards out with eight minutes to go in the final quarter to give Pittsburg the lead. Another missed PAT gave Antioch a golden chance to win. However the Panthers couldn’t score on their ensuing possession and were forced to punt. Pittsburg never gave them the ball back, winning 19-13.
“We played very well,” Antioch head coach John Lucido said. “We made a couple of adjustments, moved around a couple of guys. Where they were running last week, we put some people there. Our guys responded very well to the adjustments. They played very well tonight, I’m proud of them.”
The Panthers’ season ends, but this was the first time since 2002 where they qualified for postseason play. A 5-0 preseason all but clinched a playoff berth, and gave them some breathing room for the Bay Valley Athletic League schedule. They needed that breathing room, as Antioch went 1-4 in league play. The Panthers’ only win came against crosstown rival Deer Valley, which was their first win against the Wolverines since 2003.
While Antioch will lose some talented athletes to graduation, the cupboard will not be completely bare. One of the returning players is Elbert Hamilton, who led the team in rushing yards and scored 10 regular season touchdowns on the ground, and four more in the air.
“We’ve got some nice underclassmen coming in; people that will be called in from freshman and JV,” Hamilton said. “We had a lot of ups and downs this year. Most of the games, we found a way to pull it together and do what we had to do.”