Bearcats claim homecoming win over Rangers
Paso Robles 52, Nordhoff 21
–Paso Robles hosted Nordhoff Friday in front of a large hometown crowd on Homecoming Night in a non-league game, with the Bearcats dominating the underdog Rangers to earn a 52-21 victory.
“Nordoff is traditionally a strong football program – two and three years ago, they won CIF championships – but right now they are struggling,” said Paso Robles High School Head Varsity Football Coach Rich Schimke. “We had a hard time finding our fire at the start – it’s been a tough week in our community and our hearts were not in the game – but we found that fire and got the win for homecoming.”
Just four minutes into the game, the Bearcats (2-3) were the first to score with a 12-yard pass play from quarterback Justin Davis to wide receiver Steven Schouten, giving Paso Robles an early 7-0 lead. After the Bearcats defense forced Nordhoff to punt, Paso Robles had the ball at the Rangers’ 45-yard line when a pass from Davis was intercepted by the Rangers and returned 65 yards for a touchdown, allowing Nordhoff to tie things up, 7-7.
The Rangers (0-5) then took advantage of a poor Bearcats punt and quickly scored on a 16-yard pass play. The extra point was missed and Paso Robles fell behind by a score of 13-7 with two minutes remaining in the first quarter.
The Bearcats turned to their workhorse running back, Christian Erickson to drive to the Rangers’ five-yard line. From there, running back Mark Armstrong took the hand-off from Davis to scored and, with the extra point good, the Bearcats took a 14-13 lead with 12 minutes left in the second quarter.
An interception by Bearcat safety Tristen Durfee on a Ranger pass at the Bearcats four-yard line prevented a possible Nordhoff touchdown. An impressive drive followed, highlighted by the running of Erickson, and set up the next Bearcats score. Once again, the combination of Davis to Schouten on a 13-yard pass play increased Paso Robles’ lead to 21-13 with 7:20 left in the half.
With just under three minutes left in the half, Davis passed to his favorite target, Schouten, who put on a show that would make former Bearcat standout, Bailey Gaither, proud. Schouten raced 49-yards, breaking tackles as he scored his third touchdown of the half as the Bearcats cruised ahead, 28-13.
A second interception by Durfee gave the Paso Robles boys the ball back at their own 42-yard line with time running out in the half. With Erickson leading the Bearcats to the Rangers’ 11-yard line, Davis hit a wide open Matt Keller for a touchdown pass to give Paso Robles a 35-13 lead over Nordhoff going into halftime.
Following a dynamic display of halftime activities to celebrate homecoming, the Bearcats continued to pile on the points in the second half with a 35- yard field goal by Jonathan Jaimes, a fourth touchdown reception from Schouten, and a 58-yard interception return by linebacker Richard Goldammer to earn a 52-21 win over the Rangers.
“What really made the night special was that everybody had a chance to get on the field and play,” said Schimke. “All of these players work so hard in practice and not all of them have a chance to play as often – to be able to play in a homecoming game is great.”
With a homecoming theme of Light up the Night, the Bearcats did just that — Schouten finished the game with eight catches for 150 yards and four touchdowns for the Bearcats; Davis was 16 of 23 passing for 205 yards and five touchdowns, and Erickson had 15 carries for 206 yards.
“Everyone worked together tonight and it was great to see the second string players on the field and put all of that practice they do every day into action,” said Schouten. “Our strength is our brotherhood and that’s what we have been building throughout this season. The goal with every homecoming is to get the win for the alumni and the hometown crowd – and that’s exactly what we did.”
Keller agreed, saying, “We showed teamwork and we were close tonight – that’s what helped us push through and get the win. Having the support of the crowd was tremendous for us.”
The Bearcats will travel to Morro Bay on Friday, Oct. 2 to take on the Pirates (0-5) at 7 p.m.; JV takes the field at 4 p.m.