MONETT, Mo. — California had to wait an extra day to start its football season, but the Pintos were quickly reminded of what they were in for Saturday night against a Monett team currently ranked fifth in Class 3.
With a failed fake punt and a fumble on its first two possessions, California gifted Monett a short field twice in the first quarter. The Cubs took full advantage with a pair of touchdowns, and never looked back as they rolled to a 34-6 win.
The Pintos simply had no answer for Monett running back Michael Branch, who had three rushing touchdowns in the first quarter alone to push the Cubs out to a 20-0 lead after one.
Branch finished with 123 yards on the ground to lead a Monett backfield that totaled just more than 250 yards.
The early deficit hindered California's own running game, as backs Gunner Baquet, Sam Kirby and Cory Friedmeyer all struggled to break free against a stout Cubs defense.
The Pintos' longest run of the night came on a 17-yard scramble by quarterback Jacob Wolken in the first quarter. Under center, Wolken was under duress all game. The junior was sacked seven times and was consistently forced from the pocket.
Despite the pressure, Wolken completed 12-of-23 passes for 96 yards. He spread it around to six different receivers and hooked up with Jacob Adams for a 25-yard touchdown on California's first possession of the second half. Toby Dalbey was Wolken's top target, reeling in five passes for 33 yards.
California will try and regroup Friday at home against Mexico. Last season, the Bulldogs shut out the Pintos 35-0.