Bearcats edge out Warriors in 21-14 nailbiter
Report and photos by Sergio Romero
– The Paso Robles High School Bearcats earned their first win of the season in the first game of league play over the Righetti High School Warriors on Friday night by a score of 21-14 at War Memorial Stadium in Paso Robles. The Bearcats improved to 1-3 (1-0 Mountain) while the Warriors fell to 1-3 (0-1 Mountain).
The first quarter didn’t feature much action but, after a missed field goal from Righetti High, Paso Robles High gave the ball right back to the Warriors on an interception after an overthrow from senior quarterback James Cogan.
Righetti High had possession to start the second quarter, drove down the field and took a 7-0 lead on a nine-yard touchdown run from senior running back RJ Fuentes.
After trading punts, the Bearcats put together a nice drive and responded with an eight-yard touchdown pass from Cogan to senior wide receiver Tristen Salgado to tie the game at seven apiece with 1:30 left in the half.
Paso High wasn’t done, however, after a blocked punt and an illegal kicking penalty set up the Bearcat offense around the 30-yard line with one second left in the half.
Cogan took the snap, rolled out to his left, and heaved a prayer into the endzone that was answered by Salgado that resulted in an eruption from the crowd and a 14-7 lead at the half.
The Warriors started off the second half with the ball and drove down the field highlighted by a 24-yard pass to senior athlete Damian Meraz but ended with yet another missed field goal.
After trading more punts in the quarter, Righetti got the ball back towards the end of the quarter and started to put together a nice drive that continued at the start of the fourth quarter that was capped off by a one-yard touchdown run to tie the game up again at 14-14 with 7:11 left in the game.
Paso Robles immediately responded on their next drive after two unnecessary roughness penalties helped them get down to the goalline and score a four-yard touchdown to take a 21-14 lead with 3:20 left to go in the game.
The Warriors’ possession didn’t disappoint as they kept getting chunk plays and found themselves in the red zone with about a minute left to play.
Each play after would take about ten seconds off the clock and add onto the tension in the building until it was third down.
With 30 seconds to go, Righetti’s quarterback threw a ball to the flat that was tackled short of the goalline and the offense rushed back to the line without any timeouts left.
With the clock running, the ball was snapped with about five seconds left, and the quarterback faked the keeper and tossed it out to his running back who was tackled well short of the line as time expired which resulted in another eruption from the crowd and the sideline as the Bearcats capped off the 21-14 nailbiter.
“We were kind of at a breaking point,” Paso Robles head coach Tim Alvord said postgame. “What a great job by our defense and defensive staff, and I’m so happy for the kids.”
The Bearcats will now look ahead toward their second league game and first road game of the season as they travel to take on Lompoc High School (2-2, 0-1 Mountain) on Friday, Sept. 22 at 7 p.m. at Huyuck Stadium.