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Pittsburg repeats as NCS Division I champions, shuts down an explosive Clayton Valley offense

BRENTWOOD – In a championship rematch between teams featuring highly-touted quarterbacks and offenses that averaged over 34 points a game, it was Pittsburg’s defense that delayed coach Victor Galli’s retirement by at least another game. The Pirates won their second consecutive NCS Division I championship over Clayton Valley Charter, this time by a score of 13-3.

“I’m just soaking it in, no matter what happens,” said Galli, who announced a few weeks that this playoff run will be his last as head coach. “Anything else that happens is the cherry on top.”

Spearheaded by Odera Okaka and a defense that seemed to know what would happen before the offense snapped the ball, Pittsburg held Clayton Valley to under 200 yards of total offense. Christian Aguilar, who a year ago quarterbacked Pittsburg to a title win against the Ugly Eagles, was under consistent duress.

“We did execute some good plays, but we just needed to stay consistent and we didn’t,” Aguilar said. “And they were really fast on defense.”

Pittsburg wasn’t much better, scraping together 290 yards from scrimmage and only two touchdowns in a frigid and plodding game. Clayton Valley actually scored first after coach Tim Murphy called a surprise onside kick on the opening kickoff. The Ugly Eagles converted a short field goal, but afterward could do nothing else on offense.

The difference between the two teams was Pittsburg’s ability to rely on Rashid Williams to make contested catches in traffic. He caught six balls for 96 yards, and almost every single catch went for double-digit yardage and a crucial first down.

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“We won last year, but we’re still super-hyped about winning this year,” Williams said. “We’re 2-0 against them.”

Halfback Elijah Bow punched in second-quarter five-yard touchdown to make it 7-3 after Williams had plucked a couple of Jaden Rashada passes out of the air for chunks of yardage. It wasn’t until midway through the third quarter that Pittsburg stretched the lead to 13-3. Big receiver Khai Taylor high-pointed a 12-yard fade pass for six points in the right corner of end zone.

Clayton Valley Charter had a few more drives to get back in the game, and its defense kept Pittsburg scoreless on two different red zone possessions. But the Pitt defense held firm and turned the Clayton Valley offense over on downs on both of its last two drives. Pittsburg will find out who it plays in the NorCal regional playoff on Sunday.

“There’s going to be no playing around this week in practice,” Williams said. “We’re gonna lock in so we can get our next opponent and get coach Galli the state championship.”


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