October 15, 2011

Shawn Jansen: Thunder rises to occasion

Friday night wasn't about looking good. It wasn't about style points. It was about survival.

TURLOCK -- Friday night wasn't about looking good. It wasn't about style points.

It was about survival.

That's exactly what Buhach Colony did when it escaped with a 27-24 win over Pitman.

For the first time, the Thunder had to overcome adversity. They had to overcome a gamed Pride team looking for an upset after jumping out to an early lead. They had to overcome some questionable calls that didn't go BC's way.

The officiating was horrible. I don't know why it is, but it seems to be the norm when CCC teams from Merced County come to Turlock. It doesn't just happen to Merced. It started with the opening kickoff when Tyler Dew returned the opening kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown. However, he was called for high-stepping down the sideline.

There were two phantom passing interference calls against Buhach and a botched call that resulted in a first down for Pitman on its final drive.

Simply put, this crew had no business officiating a game of this magnitude.

Despite everything, Buhach found a way to stay unbeaten and now sits in the driver's seat at 2-0 in the Central California Conference and 7-0 overall.

The difference between BC and the rest of the CCC isn't just talent. It's about leadership.

You won't find a better leader than Thunder center Matt Cochran. Cochran and the rest of the offensive line -- Andrew Mark, Aaron Cochran, Michael Escobar and Aziz Shittu -- put the team on their back and wouldn't let them lose.

"Even when we were down nobody was saying anything negative on the sideline," Cochran said. "Everything was positive."

Nobody was negative because Cochran wouldn't let them.

"This is the first time we've had to play from behind and like the way our guys responded," BC coach Kevin Swartwood said.

This game was a test of character and the Thunder passed.

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