PITTSBURG -- Moments after the Pittsburg High football team put the finishing touches on its wild 28-24 victory over previously unbeaten Deer Valley on Friday night, coach Vic Galli told his jubilant players that few victories in his 12 years with the Pirates have been sweeter.
Short-handed and down by 10 points in the final quarter, the host Pirates rallied to claim at least a share of the Bay Valley Athletic League championship. They can make it an outright title with a win over Antioch in next week's Big Little Game.
Jaylyn Morgan, filling in for injured star running back Harris Ross, scored the game-winning touchdown on a 3-yard run with 3:27 left. The junior finished with 153 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 23 carries.
"We took a humongous step tonight," Galli said. "The top back in the state didn't play in the game. Our quarterback is out for the season, our best lineman is hurt. The list goes on. Just for these other guys to step up and have everyone rally and play for each other, I'm very happy with these guys."
Ross, an Oregon State commit who became Pittsburg's all-time rushing leader last week, watched the game from the sideline on crutches and with his right foot in a boot.
Ross originally injured his leg three weeks ago against Heritage and ended up fracturing his fibula at practice this week. He could be out for the season.
Pittsburg scored first, but it was the Wolverines (8-1, 3-1 BVAL), led by nimble and elusive quarterback Nsimba Webster, who led for most of the game.
The senior rushed for 156 yards, passed for 107 and accounted for all three Deer Valley touchdowns. But the Pirates (7-2, 4-0) were able to stop Webster and the Wolverines with the game on the line.
After Morgan's go-ahead scoring run, Deer Valley drove to the Pittsburg 30-yard line. But Webster was sacked on third down, and the Pirates batted down a deep ball to the end zone on the next play to seal the win.
"It seems like we do this all the time with Deer Valley," Galli said. "I don't want to see these guys again (in the playoffs). I'm done with Mr. Webster."
Pittsburg took advantage of two Deer Valley miscues to take the lead.
A bad snap on a punt gave Pittsburg the ball on the Wolverines' 8-yard line and the Pirates scored two plays later on a Jeremiah Sturgis touchdown reception.
Then sophomore Shurod Thompson intercepted Webster on the Wolverines' next drive, setting the Pirates up for their game-winning drive.