Paso Robles - under a dark and rainy night time sky at Righetti High School's football stadium on Friday, Oct. 31 - slipped through mistackles and ran wild on the wet sprint turf, trouncing the Warriors 40-12 to stay undefeated at 9-0.
The downpour fell during the first quarter and had an impact on ball security. Both teams fumbled a combined four times in the first half, which included RHS losing control of the football inside the Bearcat 20-yard line and was recovered by the PRHS defense.
The Paso Robles sidelines, however, appeared to rejoice over the rain falling down in Santa Maria; because it showed that its a football team built for wet conditions.
The Bearcats turned to their huge offensive line and backfield to wear down RHS with power and blast running plays between the offensive tackles. Christian Erickson and Mark Armstrong started to rumble past the Warriors and combined for two scores. Erickson had a 14-yard touchdown catch through a screen pass before leaving the game with an ankle injury. Armstrong scored his touchdown on a 5-yard run up the middle.
Bailey Gaither also showed that he's slippery when wet. The wide receiver and future San Jose State Spartan football player caught a third quarter swing pass on the right side, sprinted toward the left, slipped past four RHS defenders who lunged their arms at him, then turned up the field for a 20-yard touchdown reception as the rain fell on the surface.
The Bearcats will now go for the 10-0 regular season finish on Friday, Nov. 7, against traditional rival Atascadero.
TRAFFIC JAM IN THE COUNTY METRO ATHLETIC CONFERENCE
Just when the CMAC title was about to end up in Sanger, Bullard High stirred up one of the biggest tailspins in the Central Valley on Halloween night at Tom Flores Stadium.
With 27 seconds left, Knights quarterback Jack Taylor found Tanner Van Es for a 16-yard touchdown reception, lifting Bullard to its 20-17 victory over the Apaches plus knocking Sanger from the undefeated ranks in league play.
The game-winning touchdown was set up by 6-foot-4, 210-pound tight end Cvaughn Stewart. The Class of 2016 prospect - who holds one offer from Utah of the PAC-12 - caught a crucial third-and-9 pass down the middle of the field, but broke loose from the hands of one Sanger defender then galloped his way to the SHS 19-yard line. His catch was good for 47 yards. Taylor connected with Van Es two plays later.
Bullard, Sanger and Edison (defeated Madera 52-13) now share identical CMAC records at 3-1.
The Knights (6-3) also had big plays from Charles Williams, who had 117 yards on 29 carries against an Apache run defense that's been one of the best in the Central Section this season. The junior running back scored on runs of 38 and 1-yard.
Bullard now goes for the possible share of the CMAC title by going toe-to-toe against its chief rival: the Edison Tigers.
FOLSOM ROUTS OAK RIDGE IN BATTLE OF TALENTED QUARTERBACKS
On an evening in the Sacramento region that saw two intriguing quarterbacks in Folsom's Jake Browning and Oak Ridge's Ian Book sharing the field, it was the University of Washington commit and Folsom getting the upper hand, beating Oak Ridge 42-7.
Browning threw for 230 yards and tossed three touchdown passes. All of his scoring strikes went to Josiah Degura, who finished with 147 receiving yards.
The Bulldogs stayed unbeaten at 9-0 and 5-0 in the Sierra Foothill League.
ST. JOSEPH PEAKING AT THE RIGHT TIME
In four plays, St. Joseph-Santa Maria ignited a rout against a Cabrillo High team who's still under construction with former NFL lineman Don Willis as head coach.
Quarterback Blake Jaeckels ran through the Conquistador defense on three option keeper plays that were good for 49 yards. Then, the junior 6-foot-2 running and throwing threat connected with Chris Barganier on a 26-yard touchdown catch, sparking a 55-27 rout on Thursday, Oct. 30, at Lompoc's Huyck Stadium.
The Knights (5-4, 2-1 in the Los Padres League) shot up to a 28-0 lead before Cabrillo dissected its deficit to 28-14 before halftime. However, Justin Schnorf streaked to an 89-yard touchdown reception down the middle of the field, extending the SJ lead to 34-14 at halftime.
Jaeckels combined for five touchdowns, including four through the air. The Class of 2016 prospect had 195 yards passing and 146 rushing.
Before the game against CHS, the Knights had been dealing with a tough regular season slate that saw one-sided routs against Central Coast heavyweights Arroyo Grande (41-7 loss on Sept. 12) and Paso Robles (31-0 defeat on Oct. 19), then a recent home heart breaker against another monster in the 805: undefeated Lompoc (24-23 loss).
Now, St. Joseph has won three of its last four games and can solidify a playoff berth by beating Santa Ynez on Friday, Nov. 7, at home.