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Bearcats overpowered by Vaqueros, 41-0 

PRHS football, Bearcats, El Capitan Vaqueros, Evan Espinoza, Jacob Stanko, Michael Horne

Paso’s Evan Espinoza, Jacob Stanko, and Michael Horne lead the Bearcats’ defensive line against the advancing El Capitan Vaqueros. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Railsback

CIF play comes to an end for Paso Robles varsity football players, champions of the 2014 CIF Southern Section Northern Division

Paso Robles varsity Bearcats football players traveled to Lakeside near San Diego to take on the El Capitan Vaqueros on Saturday night in the CIF Division III South Regional state bowl game but were unable to bring home the win after the Vaqueros took control of the night and claimed a 41-0 shut out victory.

Matt Kellet, PRHS football, Paso Bearcats

Paso’s Matt Keller stops El Capitan’s Isaiah Capoocia. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Railsback

The two teams met up after the Bearcats (13-1) won the CIF Southern Section Northern Division title last week with a 13-10 victory over Newbury Park and El Capitan (13-0) won the CIF San Diego Section title last week with a 14-7 victory over Rancho Bernardo. On paper, it was a match up of two excellent teams on a collision course — in the end, it turned out to be a mismatch.

Playing without their all-purpose standout, Bailey Gaither, who suffered a thigh injury in last weeks’ game, the Bearcats were at a disadvantage in all three aspects of the game. The game plan figured to be much more conservative for the Bearcats and it only got worse on the opening kickoff when Paso’s Bryce Pasky made a touchdown-saving tackle near midfield, injured his right leg on the play, and spent the remainder of the night on the sideline. His loss would be felt throughout the rest of the game.

The Vaqueros were able to drive the ball to the Paso Robles 3 yard line and had a fourth down and 1 yard to go when the Bearcats defense, led by Jonathan Baldwin, came up with a huge play and stopped QB Brad Cagle for no gain.

The Bearcats, unable to get a first down, were forced to punt from their own 2 yard line; the punt of just 17 yards gave the Vaqueros the ball at the 19 yard line. Once again the Paso defense came up with another crucial stop, highlighted by a solid hit by Cooper Silva. The Vaqueros settled for a 28 yard field goal, taking a 3-0 lead with 6:07 left in the first quarter.

Things went from bad to worse for Paso Robles on the ensuing kickoff when Ty Jones, catching the ball at the 10 yard line and returning it to the 25 yard line, was tackled and landed hard on the artificial turf. He lay motionless as medical personnel quickly ran out onto the field to provide care. Both teams, as well as the large crowd on both sides of the stadium, waited in anticipation of Jones’ recovery. After several minutes, as Jones was taken off of the field on a stretcher, he gave a “thumbs up” sign, which brought a huge cheer from the crowd.

When play resumed, the Vaqueros stopped the Bearcats’ drive and quickly moved the ball to Paso’s 22 yard line. On a fourth down and 11, linebacker Baldwin stopped D.J Smith for a loss and the Bearcats were able to thwart another possible Vaquero score.

For the remainder of the game, the Bearcats were hurt by turnovers and costly penalties. Tempers were high on both sides and, as the Vaqueros scored 28 points in the second quarter, hope was fading for the Bearcats as they trailed 31-0 at the half.

PRHS football, Bearcats, Evan Espinoza, Jacob Stanko

Bearcats Evan Espinoza, Jacob Stanko, and their fellow teammates embrace after their 41-0 loss to El Capitan. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Railsback

The Bearcats defense continued to play a solid game in spite of the score. Parker Gray came up with a big play as he intercepted a pass from QB Cagle at the Paso Robles 1 yard line, preventing another score. El Capitan was able to add 10 more points in the fourth quarter to end the night with a 41-0 shutout over the Bearcats.

The Bearcats played with pride from beginning to end and never gave up. Davis had a gutsy performance against a defense that had a total of 55 sacks coming into the game. He finished with 10 for 24 for 75 yards, playing without two starting receivers.

There weren’t a lot of impressive stats for Paso, but there was no shortage of fight in any of the players as their impressive season came to end. Overall, the 2014 football season was filled with great moments and incredible games, which culminated in the Paso Robles Bearcats claiming the CIF Southern Section Northern Division Championship title.

For more of Jennifer Railsback’s photos from the Paso Robles vs El Capitan game, go to

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