PITTSBURG -- The California High football team kept grinding away during Saturday night's North Coast Section Division I playoff game against host Pittsburg.
In the fourth quarter, it finally paid off.
Lead by two touchdowns from CJ Cornwell and a stingy defense, the Grizzlies scored 17 unanswered points in the final frame to pull away with a 31-17 win.
With the win, the No. 3 seeded Grizzlies will take on top seed De La Salle in the NCS Division I championship game next week.
Cornwell's second score, an 8-yard catch in the right corner of the end zone from Matt Lorenz on a third down, helped California stake a two touchdown lead with 5:04 left in the game. Cornwell finished with 81 yards receiving and 33 yards rushing.
"We're a hard-nosed team. Coming in, our focus was to play tough, we knew this atmosphere was going to be electric," Cornwell said.
That drive was preceded by an interception by Jacob Wooldridge that gave California the ball at the Pittsburg 35.
A key going into the game, Cornwell said, was the defense knew it would have to stop Pittsburg and star running back Harris Ross.
Ross did have 128 yards for the Pirates to lead the team and a touchdown, but all came in the first half after he sustained a leg injury in the latter stages of the second quarter on a 24 yard run.
Lorenz, in only his fourth game as a starter, threw for 134 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for a 5 yard score with under three minutes left in the game.