Berkeley High School running back Rudolpho James took the handoff and ran straight into quarterback Sir-Devonta Stewart. The Yellowjackets were going for a two-point conversion on Friday night, and being stopped would have meant a fourth consecutive loss to open the season.
But not on this night. James slipped around Stewart and began heading to the pylon on the left side of the end zone. He then outran Pittsburg's Jamon Ward for the conversion, giving Berkeley an improbable 41-40 double-overtime win over the Pirates at Contra Costa College.
"It was a little bit gutsy, but I knew they were crowding the middle so I just had to take it outside and hit that pylon," James said. "It was just a little misdirection (with Stewart). We clucked heads, but I bounced off of that."
James ended up with 140 yards on 30 carries including three touchdowns. He scored two of his touchdowns in the two overtimes. James separated his shoulder in Berkeley's opener against San Leandro and missed the next two games. The Yellowjackets (1-3) wanted to be cautious with him, so James got just three carries in the first half.
Meantime, the Pirates (3-1) took a 20-6 lead at halftime. That led to a change of strategy.
"When we were down coming into the half, we had a talk in the locker room, I told (coach Fred Sims) I was going to go in, the team needed me," James said.
After forcing Pittsburg to punt on the opening possession of the third quarter, Berkeley embarked on a 16-play, 75-yard drive that took five minutes, 57 seconds. It was as old-school as you can get, with just two passes and James taking the ball on 10 of the plays. Stewart scored on a 1-yard sneak, and suddenly, it was a game.
The Pirates had a chance to win the game in regulation, but a bad snap by Marco Russell kept Irwin Chivichon from getting off a 21-yard field goal.
In the first overtime, Berkeley scored first on a 2-yard run by James, but Samuel Boyden's extra point was blocked. Pittsburg answered with a 10-yard touchdown from Malik Watson to Terrance Barnes, but another tricky snap led to Chivichon sending the conversion wide left.
The Pirates went up in the second overtime on Mister Cotton's 2-yard touchdown and a made conversion by Chivichon. James answered with a 5-yard run and then made the two-point conversion.