VERSAILLES, Mo. — The old cliché about not letting a team hang around proved true for California against Versailles on Friday night.
For the final three quarters of the game, the Pintos picked up yards with ease, but couldn't convert them into points.
The Tigers, who were down three virtually the entire second half, went on a 68-yard drive in the game's final 2:41 and punched in the game-winning touchdown on a 1-yard sneak by quarterback David Connor with three seconds left to claim a 14-10 win.
"When you let a team hang around and don't put them away, bad things can happen," California coach Marty Albertson said. "That's exactly what happened tonight."
The Pintos' 300 total yards dwarfed the final Versailles total of 148, 68 of which came on the Tigers' winning drive late in the fourth. Two costly California turnovers, however, kept Versailles in the game.
Midway through the second quarter, California was driving into Tigers territory when a failed pitch on the read-option put the ball on the turf. Connor scooped it up and went 59 yards the other way to put Versailles on the board.
At the time, California had a 10-0 lead and looked unstoppable running the ball behind Jacob Wolken and Cory Friedmeyer. But the fumbled pitch changed the dynamic of the game completely, and the Tigers got a boost from it.
The second California turnover came late in the third when the Pintos had goal-to-go on the three yard line following a Wolken interception on defense.
The ensuing play was a sloppy handoff, again leading to a fumble for California.
In total, Wolken paced the California offense with 141 yards on the ground and 7-of-15 passing for 55 yards through the air. Friedmeyer added 90 yards on 21 carries. Dakota Henry had just 11 rushing yards for the Pintos, but scored a 6-yard touchdown on California's opening offensive series.
Shane Randall led Versailles with 55 rushing yards, most of which came on the final drive. Connor finished with 36 yards rushing and 29 yards passing, going 3-of-8 on completions with one pick.
The win gave Versailles (2-2) its first victory against the Pintos (1-3) since 2009. Both teams are 1-1 in Tri-County Conference play.
California hosts Eldon next week while Versailles hosts Warsaw.