Saturday, September 13, 2014

Week two highlights: Bearcats have rising star in sophomore power back

Christian Erickson - who's only a sophomore - just made Paso Robles more dangerous than ever on offense, plus elevated himself as a 2017 prospect to watch in North San Luis Obispo County.

The 5-foot-10, 205-pound angry bull stampeded his way to 117 yards on 12 carries and three touchdowns - all in one half - as the Bearcats won their battle of the unbeatens against Cabrillo of Lompoc 45-6 at Huyck Stadium.

Erickson didn't just move the chains, he moved a pile with his legs, low pad level and physical upper body. He wore down the Conquistadores on belly and blast running plays that were executed between his offensive tackles. Erickson had three scampers that were good for 20, 21 and 25 yards.

And, on a team with highly-recruited Bailey Gaither (six NCAA Division I and Football Championship Subdivision scholarship offers) making the most dynamic plays for Paso Robles, Erickson proved that the 3-0 Bearcats don't need the receiver and return ace to set the tone or lead the way.

Erickson has 379 yards on 62 carries, giving him an average of 6.1 yards per carry. He's leading the balanced Bearcat offense with five rushing touchdowns.

He's gone over 100 yards against some quality competition too. He had 152 yards against the Clovis High Cougars, who's had one of the best defenses in the stacked Central Section during the last few years. He rumbled for 110 yards against Camarillo, with the Scorpions having a combined record of 21-5 in the last three seasons. On Friday, he pummeled a previously 2-0 Cabrillo team with his triple digit first half outing.

I won't be surprised if college football coaches continue to migrate to North SLO County's wine country after Gaither graduates. It's because they can court Erickson.


Hanford High is unleashing its young attack dogs this season, and the Bullpups have knocked down two Central Sequoia League heavyweights in Kingsburg (33-12 on Aug. 29) and Dinuba (30-7) to make their early statement.

Now sitting at 3-0, Hanford has won with a sophomore quarterback in Ryan Johnson and a 211-pound junior power runner in Joseph McDaniel leading the charge.

Johnson scored three touchdowns (two passing, one 33-yard rushing touchdown) against the defending Central Section Division III champion Dinuba. Johnson also burned the Emperors with air strikes of 22 and 51 yards.

McDaniel isn't a fast back, but he brings power and determination to his runs. As of Sept. 12, McDaniel was averaging seven yards per carry for the Bullpups.

I should also add the performance of the Bullpup defense. Hanford limited a high-powered Dinuba offense to 77 total yards, including bottling Emps' running back Michael Wright with 44 yards. Hanford brought an array of blitzes to hault a Dinuba offense that came in averaging 30.5 points per game.


In the post Richard Doctor era, the Tigers have turned to defense.

The result? A pass rush from Zack Frazier and the ball-hawking ability of Allen Perryman to help move past Doctor's illustrious career.

Lemoore faced the task of replacing Doctor and his 2,504 yard season from a year ago. The Tigers have leaped to 3-0, with two victories over Tri-River Athletic Conference opponents Clovis (40-27 on Sept. 5) and their recent win over Buchanan-Clovis (21-3 on Friday).

Frazier, a 6-foot-4, 215-pound senior defensive end, has eight sacks during the undefeated start. He had five in the 18-point win against Buchanan.

Perryman is a rising junior with seven interceptions - including two games with three picks. He hauled in three interceptions in the victory over Buchanan. He's a 6-foot, 175-pound free safety who's on pace to grab 15-20 interceptions this season.

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