PITTSBURG -- With several new starters and a number of new position coaches, the defense of the Pittsburg High football team needed time to come together.
It appears the adjustment period is almost over.
After allowing 111 points in their first three games, which included a 44-14 loss to Monte Vista on Sept. 7, the Pirates have turned things around on defense. In three games since the loss to Monte Vista, Pittsburg has allowed just 35 points -- including a 29-8 win over Liberty on Sept. 28.
Friday, the Pirates will try to slow down a Freedom team that has averaged 38 points a game thus far. The two teams, which each had 4-1 Bay Valley Athletic League records in 2011, meet in Pittsburg at 7 p.m.
"We rededicated ourselves" after the loss to Monte Vista, Pirates coach Victor Galli said. "We practiced harder, and we played with a greater sense of urgency."
Pittsburg (4-2, 1-0 BVAL) had just three returning defensive starters from last year's team that advanced to the North Coast Section Division I semifinals. Also, former junior varsity coach Charlie Ramirez became the defensive coordinator after Jim Shipe retired.
Helping lead the Pirates' resurgence on defense have been lineman Antonio Huey, defensive end Motekiai Maile and defensive back Korey Alexander.
"We have a lot of young guys on defense who are playing better, but we're not quite there yet," Galli said. "There are a lot of very formidable teams in our league."
The most formidable player in the BVAL might be Freedom receiver/defensive back Darrell Daniels, who has 11 touchdowns this season and is tied for the team lead with 34 tackles.
Falcons coach Kevin Hartwig said Daniels is healthy again after he suffered a minor knee injury against Heritage on Sept. 28. In the meeting between Freedom (4-2, 1-0) and Pittsburg last year, Daniels returned a kickoff 91 yards for Freedom's first touchdown. The Pirates went on to win the game, though, 35-14.
"Pittsburg always has very good athletes on defense," Hartwig said. "We just have to make sure we're in the right position, finish our blocks and take care off the football."