The Pittsburg High football team found itself in a familiar situation Friday night against Heritage.
Despite dominating most of the first half, the Pirates had only a 16-point lead at halftime. Twice Pittsburg carried similar leads at the break, only to let the opposition come back to win in overtime. The Pirates did not let that happen this time.
Led by Fe'ao Vunipola's 226 yards rushing and three touchdowns, Pittsburg ran away with a 42-20 Bay Valley Athletic League home win.
"The thing is we have been there before. At halftime we told the guys that they have to finish and impose our will," Pittsburg coach Victor Galli said.
"We knew that we had to keep playing hard," said Vunipola, whose touchdown runs of 46 and 65 yards opened up a 28-12 halftime advantage for Pittsburg (5-3, 2-1).
Heritage (4-4, 2-1) cut the deficit to 35-20 early in the fourth quarter on a 1-yard touchdown run by quarterback Anthony Carter and two-point conversion run by Jorel Avila. Kejhan Clayton set up the Patriots' score with an 86-yard run on an pitch play to the Pirates' 2-yard line on the last play of the third quarter. Clayton led Heritage with 122 yards rushing.
Pittsburg responded with a 15-play, 72-yard scoring drive -- all but one play on the ground -- that took almost eight minutes off the clock. Vunipola capped the drive with a 2-yard touchdown.
Liberty 30, Antioch 17: Liberty quarterback Cody Suckow ran for two touchdowns and connected with Nick West six times for 142 yards and a score as the host Lions won their first BVAL game of the season.
Nothing went right for the Antioch offense in the first half. The Panthers' opening drive stalled when the referees mistakenly signaled fourth down instead of third, and Antioch settled for a 32-yard field goal by Hunter Karnthong.
Bobby Davis answered for Liberty (3-5, 1-2), breaking free for a 62-yard touchdown on the Lions' opening possession to give Liberty the lead for good, 7-3.
The Panthers (5-3, 0-3) gained 59 yards on their opening drive but were held to minus-5 the rest of the half. That included a loss of 10 yards on a snap that rolled out of the back of the end zone for a safety with just 1:46 left in the first half.
After the ensuing free kick sailed out of bounds, Liberty scored just three plays later. Suckow connected with West on a deep post for a 41-yard touchdown to make it 23-13 at halftime.
Liberty's defense shut down Antioch all night, holding the Panthers to just 167 yards of total offense.
However, two second-half fumbles by the Lions allowed Antioch to pull within six at 23-17 with 10:31 remaining. Elbert Hamilton scored on runs of 1 and 49 yards after having zero carries in the first half for Antioch.
-- Ken Silman, correspondent
El Cerrito 14, Hercules 0: On a night where both offenses had trouble moving the ball, the Gauchos turned to trickery to give them an Alameda Contra Costa Athletic League victory.
Junior Marcellus Pippins lined up for a punt in the third quarter, but coach Kenny Kahn called for the fake. Pippins proceeded to take the snap 47 yards for an electrifying touchdown, highlighted by a nice spin move and cutback to elude three Titans defenders.
The touchdown put El Cerrito (6-1-1) up by two touchdowns, putting the game out of reach for the out-of-sync Hercules offense.
The Titans (6-2) could not find a rhythm offensively. Hercules botched the center-quarterback exchange in the first quarter, leading to a lost fumble by quarterback Dalen Robinson on the team's second drive.
El Cerrito capitalized on the short field with a 6-yard touchdown run by Marshon Ardoin.
-- Jeff Carillo, correspondent
Alameda 35, De Anza 0: A strong defensive performance by the Hornets (3-6, 2-3 ACCAL) helped seal a road victory over the Dons (1-6, 0-4).
Alameda's defense was able to hold the De Anza offense to 113 combined yards and forced two interceptions.
The Hornets got rolling early in the first quarter after defensive back Nate Ruttan's interception that led to a 21-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jesse Lewis to wide receiver Keelan Doss.
Alameda's Adham Awa had 114 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries.
-- Malcolm Lastra, correspondent