After the host Campolindo High football team and El Cerrito traded touchdowns in the first half, the Cougars limited the Gauchos to a lone touchdown in the second half and pulled away for a 42-27 nonleague victory on Sept. 20 in a game between two of the best Division III teams in the North Coast Section.
Clinging to a 35-27 lead with just over two minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Cougars' Andrew Zolintakis found Tyler Petite for a 47-yard gain on third-and-4, which set up Connor McNally's game-clinching 6-yard touchdown run.
"We just have to credit our defense tonight," Campolindo coach Kevin Macy said. "El Cerrito has too many weapons on the field at the same time, and we had to limit them on offense and special teams. That was the key tonight."
The Cougars defense had Gauchos quarterback Keilan Benjamin on the run throughout the night and shut down his prime offensive weapons in Adarius Pickett (six catches, 58 yards) and Jalen Harvey (one catch, 22 yards).
Campolindo (4-0) scored within the first minute of the contest on a Nick Fadelli run after capitalizing on a Harvey fumble on the game's opening kickoff. The Gauchos (2-2) came right back to tie the score on an 11-yard run by Pickett.
Pickett's 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown tied the score at 21-21 with 6:52 left in the second quarter, but the Cougars scored with 40 seconds left in the half on a pass from Zolintakis to Phillip Rei for a 28-21 lead at the half.
The series between the Gauchos and the Cougars has developed into one of the better Division III rivalries in the East Bay, with three of the past four meetings decided by three points or less. El Cerrito beat Campolindo 16-14 last year in what was its closest regular-season nonleague game. Campolindo won 16-13 in 2011 and 34-13 in 2010, and El Cerrito won 30-28 in 2009.
El Cerrito starts league play on Sept. 28, as it hosts Valley Christian-Dublin at De Anza High in the Tri-County Athletic League-Rock Division opener for both teams. The kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Pittsburg 24, Berkeley 0: The host Yellowjackets had their hands full against Harris Ross, who ran for 191 yards and had a touchdown in the Pirates' win on Sept. 20.
Ross, who committed to Hawaii last week, ran for 464 yards and seven touchdowns a week ago against Monte Vista.
Armani Levias accounted for two touchdowns, a 45-yard strike to Isaiah Barber and a 1-yard plunge of his own. The former helped Pittsburg (3-1) lead 10-0 at halftime, while the latter helped the Pirates pull away late in the third quarter.
The Ross touchdown run came early in the fourth, making it a three-score lead as Berkeley (2-2) hung tough for most of the game and showed glimpses of a dangerous offensive attack, but were done in by 12 penalties. Berkeley's rough schedule continues as it hosts James Logan on Sept. 27 at 7 p.m.
-- Matt Smith, correspondent
St. Mary's 42, Albany 0: The visiting Panthers (2-1) shut out the Cougars (0-4), making it two straight games that St. Mary's has scored more than 40 points and allowed less than 10. On Sept. 14, the Panthers beat Archbishop Riordan-S.F. 49-7. Both Albany and St. Mary's host games this week -- Tennyson visits Albany on Sept. 27 at 6:30 p.m. and De Anza is St. Mary's homecoming opponent on Sept. 28 at 1:30 p.m.