A couple of San Luis Obispo County’s biggest rivalry games came early in the season Friday night with Atascadero knocking off Paso Robles 28-14 on the road and Arroyo Grande pounding undefeated San Luis Obispo 35-3 at home.
Now 2-0 on the season, the Greyhounds continued a hot streak that dates back to their state championship run last season. They haven’t lost a game since dropping a 21-20 nailbiter to Pioneer Valley in the Ocean League finale on Oct. 28, 2022.
Paso Robles fell to 0-2 after losing to Kingsburg in the prior week.
“Atascadero is a really solid team,” Head Coach Tim Alvord said. “You’re not state champions for nothing.”
Both teams went scoreless in the first quarter.
It appeared the Greyhounds were in position to make a drive after they recovered a fumble on a punt to the Bearcats. However, they immediately gave the ball back on an interception.
To set up their first score, Greyhounds receiver Mason Degnan made a grab over the top to set the offense up within short distance of the goal. Then, quarterback Kane Cooks pushed into the end zone on a sneak.
With under a minute left in the first half, Bearcats running back Connor Bowman tied the game up with a touchdown run of his own.
The Greyhounds couldn’t connect on some throws early in the game, so they turned to their running game.
Cooks got the snap and faked a handoff to the running back before receiver Tyler Bukamier came around on a sweep play to the left side and took it to the end zone.
The Bearcats blocked the point after attempt to make it 13-7.
In the third quarter, Paso Robles quarterback Hayden McKenna dropped back in the pocket before scrambling to the right. He reversed field and threw a ball into a crowd of players, where a Bearcats receiver came down with the ball.
Paso Robles converted on the PAT to take a one-point lead with 10 minutes remaining.
But the Greyhounds weren’t done, and Cooks responded with a march down the field.
With the offense within the 40-yard line, he dragged multiple defenders to the 2 before running back Austin Smith finished off the drive.
“They were hitting hard all game, and they were driving me back on every single play,” Cooks said. “Running a couple guys over and keep pushing them over felt so good.”
The Bearcats had one more drive but were forced to punt. The punt landed on the Bearcats’ own 40 yard line and set up the Greyhounds.
After milking the clock, the Greyhounds running back Joseph Hyde converted on another touchdown to seal the win.
Alvord said the main difference makers were a “couple turnovers” and a couple “breakdowns on special teams.”
Atascadero was down in the fourth quarter and according to Head Caoch Vic Cooper, the team “dug deep.”
In the past few seasons, the Bearcats have come out on top in the rivalry game between the two schools.
“There is no rivalry if one team wins all the time,” Cooper said. “I’m glad we could get on good footing. Next year is going to be a great game as well.”
Atascadero next faces Everett Alvarez of Salinas at home on Friday, while Paso Robles is at home against Monache.
Arroyo Grande 35, San Luis Obispo 3
Arroyo Grande (2-1) scored five touchdowns in the second and third quarters in a dominant win over San Luis Obispo (2-1) on Friday night.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Tigers got on the board late in the second thanks to a 30-yard field goal by Ben Oetman, according to MaxPreps’ game coverage.
But the lead was short-lived when the Eagles stormed back with two quick touchdowns before the half, the first a 60-yard strike from Drake Missamore to Junior Herlihy and the second a 3-yard rushing touchdown.
After the break, the Eagles continued their momentum, finding the end zone three more times in the third quarter on touchdown catches by Tristan Coates and Caleb Clark and a rushing score by Brandon Butler.
Herlihy also collected an interception on defense, and Uli Chavez recorded a fumble recovery.
It was Arroyo Grande’s 50th win all time in 95 meetings with SLO.
“Playing a reputable program like Arroyo Grande early in the season makes your team stronger,” SLO head coach Pat Johnston said. “They’re fast, strong, and disciplined. They exhibit traits you’d like to see your team continue to improve upon as the season goes on.”
San Luis Obispo next faces North in Bakersfield on Friday, while Arroyo Grande is at Lompoc on Sept. 15.
Santa Maria 28, Nipomo 14
Santa Maria got out to a 21-0 halftime lead en route to a decisive win over Nipomo on Friday night, scoring twice on the ground and once through the air.
Nipomo (1-2) narrowed the score to 21-7 with score of their five minutes into the third quarter, before another Santa Maria touchdown pushed the lead to 28-7.
Nipomo hosts St. Joseph on Sept. 15.
Templeton 42, East Bakersfield 14
The Templeton Eagles (1-1) tallied their first win of the young season with a convincing road victory over East Bakersfield.
Templeton next hosts Firebaugh on Friday.
Morro Bay 35, Santa Ynez 28
Morro Bay (2-1) edged out Mountain League member Santa Ynez 35-28 after falling to Mt. Whitney the week before..
Morro Bay is at Fresno on Friday.