Photos by Nicholas Mattson/Paso Robles Press
Paso Robles High School senior Christian Erickson navigates traffic against Clovis North on Friday, Sept. 23 at War Memorial Stadium. The Bearcats lost to Sierra Canyon last week, 50-36, and host Arroyo Grande tonight for the PAC 5 League opener at 7 p.m.
There’s always a certain time during a high school football season when you find out what your team is made of. Last Friday night the Paso Robles Bearcats may have lost to Sierra Canyon, but they showed they can claw back with whatever is thrown at them.
The Bearcats fell behind 36-7 in the first half, and rallied but fell short in the second half, falling 50-36 at War Memorial Stadium.
“Sierra Canyon game right of the gate and executed perfectly on both offense and defense,” Bearcat radio commentator Bill Stansbury said. “The Trailblazers offensive line blocked very well and Bobby Cole not only ran well, but also did and excellent job of picking up the the blitzing Bearcat linebackers on pass plays.”
After scoring on their first five possessions, the Trailblazers were in the red zone again with less than two minutes left in the half, but the Bearcat defense pulled it together and held their foes on downs and got the ball back.
“The Paso defense finally rose to the occasion late in the second quarter to prevent the game from getting completely out of hand,” Stansbury said. “This momentum switch carried over to the second half where the Bearcats where more than able to match the Trail blazers. The defensive adjustment of going to a four-man front served to stymie the Sierra Canyon offensive attack.”
The Bearcats took advantage of that stop and scored with 17 seconds in the half when Steven Schouten connected with Daniel Giroux for a 44-yard touchdown pass.
Paso Robles would get the ball to start the second half and went on a long drive that ended on downs at the Sierra Canyon 15 yard line.
“The 6-minute drive by the Bearcats did not score points but it kept the explosive Trailblazers offense off the field,” Stansbury said. “I am sure the fans felt they got their money’s worth with the Bearcat comeback in the fourth quarter. It was most exciting with plenty of big plays by both teams. It was really high school football at its finest.”
The third quarter was scoreless, but the fourth quarter was broken wide open.
Schouten and Giroux hooked up again for a 54-yard touchdown pass and then Christian Erickson scored on a 6-yard run and the score was 36-28 with 5:03 left in the game.
Sierra Canyon answered right back two minutes later with a 30-yard touchdown pass from Johnny Hawkins to J.J. Hernandez.
Then, just when you thought the Bearcats were done, Schouten drove them downfield and scored on a one yard run with 2:03 remaining. Erickson added a two-point conversion and it was 43-36.
But as he had done all game long, Cole broke a long run on a blitz and then scored with 1:00 left to secure the win for the visiting team.
Schouten finished the game completing 18 of 35 passes for 273 yards.
“Schouten played very well as did the receivers. It is clear that he is the emotional team leader of the Bearcats. The long passes and great catches by the wideouts kept Paso Robles in the game,” Stansbury said.
Even though Paso Robles allowed 599 yards of total offense to Sierra Canyon, they fought to the end.
“What the Bearcats gain from this game is the knowledge that they can score and move the ball against anybody,” Stansbury said. “They can also learn that against playoff caliber teams you cannot play just a good second half or a good three quarters. To win, all four quarters have to be executed like what we saw in the second half of last week’s game.”
Stansbury also sees an area the Bearcats need to work on.
“The Bearcats have one other area that needs to be improved upon for continued success and that is eliminating penalties. They were flagged 10 times last game with eight of those being accepted, costing the home team 67 yards. For the season, they have had 45 accepted penalties resulting in 331 lost yards in six games. I am sure the coaching staff will address this situation,” Stansbury said.
The loss dropped the Bearcats record to 5-1 on the season and PAC 5 play will start tonight at War Memorial Stadium.
“Arroyo Grande is well — Arroyo Grande,” Stansbury said. “The same coaches, the same offense and the same defense.Very big offensive line, very quick defensive line with large linebackers and a solid defensive secondary. On offense, they present a balanced running attack with three players having virtually the same running stats. They are led on offense by senior quarterback Sawyer May. He has rushed for four touchdowns and thrown for for three. The Bearcat defense will be severely tested against this balanced attack.”
Stansbury also feels the Eagles will be ready on defense.
“On defense they are led by 6-3 225 pound senior middle linebacker Sam Ness. He missed two games with an injury but will be in there this week. This game should be exciting and go right down to the wire,” Stansbury said.
Kickoff for tonight’s game against Arroyo Grande is scheduled for 7 p.m. at War Memorial Stadium.
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