Pioneer Valley — Santa Maria scored on a 34-yard run with three minutes left in the game and the crucial extra point kick was good as the Panthers defeated the Dos Palos Broncos 28-27 on Sept 9 at the Central Coast.

The disheartening loss drops the Broncos to 0-4 on still young season.

“In every game, we have started strong,” said Bronco head football coach Rob Calvert. “We have been tied or winning going in to the fourth quarter of every game.  We just can’t seem to finish. We could easily be 3-1.”

With the Broncos leading 27-21 late in the final quarter, Pioneer Valley drove 65 yards and tied the score when on fourth and two, the PV running back busted through the right tackle and scampered 27 yards for the score.  The ensuing extra point kick was good to put the Panthers ahead.

But the Broncos had one last drive in them.  However, on a fourth-and-10 play, Dos Palos quarterback Peyton Van Worth scrambled and was stopped just shy of the first down marker. Pioneer Valley took over on downs and ran out the clock.

As has been the case this season, Dos Palos jumped out to an early lead, this time 14-0 behind an impressive running game. Van Worth, who scored two touchdowns on the evening, finished with 117 yards rushing.  Tailback Drake Hennagan added 71 more yards.

After Dos Palos took its 14-0 lead, Pioneer Valley answered back with three touchdowns to take a 21-14 lead at halftime. In the third quarter, Hennagan scored from one yard out and Jesus Bon’s extra point kick tied the game at 21-21.

Van Worth’s second touchdown run put Dos Palos back into the lead. But Bon’s extra point kick was blocked, leaving the scored as 27-21 before Pioneer Valley scored the final touchdown of the evening.

Calvert said that his team’s work ethic is excellent, but obviously, the Broncos need to finish off opponents.

“We are working hard in practice, and we are battling on the field,” said Calvert.  “We are just coming up short.  We’re making mistakes and we just have to be able to finish.”

The Broncos will head into their bye week before finishing off their preseason against Chowchilla. The Tribe are 3-1 with wins over Fresno, Yosemite, and Parlier.  Their lone loss was to undefeated Kerman.

“We are going to use the bye week to get guys healthy, make some adjustments, get guys in the right spots and put it together,” Calvert explained.  “We will try to get that win, get it right, and be ready when league starts.”

David Borboa