CALIFORNIA, Mo. — A week after giving away some short fields to the opposition, the California Pintos were granted a short field three times in the first quarter against Mexico on Friday night.
After allowing a touchdown on the opening possession, California's defense forced — and recovered — three Mexico fumbles, but it translated into just three points for the Pintos.
The Bulldogs took advantage of their first quarter reprieve and bounced back with four touchdowns in the second frame en route to a 39-10 win.
"I think it was just poor execution in critical times," Pintos coach Marty Albertson said. "And again, we're a young team and against a good, physical team, you just can't do that.
"I felt like we let down there in the second quarter a little bit. We made some mistakes and dropped our heads and when you do that, things compound."
For the second straight week, California found itself at a size disadvantage in the trenches. The mismatch showed in Mexico's ground game, as the Bulldogs tallied more than 240 yards with the backfield triple threat of Avion Williams, Cameron Holman and Michael White.
"Our ends were getting washed way down and our linebackers would come in to contain and we had nobody left to fill the C-gap," Albertson said.
Holman and Williams each had a pair of touchdown runs and finished with 85 and 45 rushing yards, respectively. White led Mexico with 90 yards and added a touchdown catch from quarterback Deion Wayman.
Wayman was about as efficient as it gets through the air, throwing for 88 yards and two scores on 3-for-3 passing. Senior Brit Wilson accounted for Mexico's other touchdown reception on a 60-yard catch-and-run in the second quarter.
California found the end zone midway through the fourth when junior Cory Friedmeyer recovered a fumble and dashed 43 yards for the score.
It was Friedmeyer's second fumble recovery of the game. Dakota Henry and Sam Kirby jumped on the other two early Mexico fumbles.
California's own rushing attack was stymied for much of the game. Quarterback Jacob Wolken led the Pintos with 24 rushing yards. Next on the team was Henry, who had 12 yards on five carries.
For all the Pintos' struggles on the ground, they didn't have much more success through the air. Wolken finished 7-for-19 passing for 31 yards with two picks.
California's leading receiver was Jacob Adams with two grabs for 12 yards. Tight end Jackson Trachsel had a pair of catches for 11 yards.
In addition to the two interceptions, a pair of special teams miscues cost the Pintos possession as well. A botched return on a squib kick gave the Bulldogs goal-to-go late in the first half and a high snap on a punt attempt did the same in the third quarter.
One positive on California's special teams unit was senior kicker Jose Magana, who split the uprights on his extra point and 22-yard field goal tries.
California will look to build off that as it prepares for Tri-County Conference play starting Friday in Warsaw.