By taking care of business in Saturday's 91st Big Little Game against rival Antioch, the Pittsburg High football team stamped itself ready for the North Coast Section Division I playoffs.
As far as the Pirates are concerned, the season starts now.
Breon Butler ran for three touchdowns, and the host Pirates cruised to a 35-14 Bay Valley Athletic League win over the Panthers in front of a packed Pirate Stadium.
Pittsburg (6-4, 4-1 BVAL) rolled to a 21-0 halftime lead, thanks to two touchdowns by Butler and one by Julius Mozee. The Pirates weren't necessarily sharp, but they didn't have to be as Antioch (4-6, 2-3) drew several untimely penalties and continuously gave Pittsburg a short field.
"We dug a hole for ourselves," Antioch coach Randy Autentico said. "We had turnovers and penalties in the first quarter, and we ended up getting behind early and in a game like this, you can't do that."
Antioch finally hit the scoreboard in the second half, as Billy Cloninger found Jordan Hoyle for a 10-yard touchdown and later connected with Shamawn Wright for a 72-yard score.
Butler added a 20-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
Robert Jiles punctuated the win for Pittsburg, returning a punt 64 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
"It was kind of ugly, but hopefully we're getting healthy and we've got new life," Pittsburg coach Victor Galli said.
Pittsburg will find out today at the seeding meeting where it lands in the Division I playoffs. After losing three of their first four games, the Pirates ended the season by winning five of their last six.
"We went through a lot of ups and downs during the season, and we battled back. We had a couple close losses, and we could really be 8-2 right now," Pittsburg defensive back Tracy Clark said. "We're just happy to be in the tournament. Now it's a totally different season."