Following Paso Robles’s win over Righetti last week, head coach J.R. Reynolds had a message for his team: “Let’s be selfish.”
The win over the Warriors earned Paso Robles (4-4, 3-0 PAC 5) at least a share of the PAC 5 title, but the Bearcats want the outright title. They have a chance to do it at home against rivals Atascadero (3-6, 1-2 PAC 5) on Friday.
After starting the season with three-straight losses, Paso Robles has now won four of its last five games since sophomore Hunter Barnhart took over as the starting quarterback. His ability to make plays with his arm and legs has transformed the Bearcats’s offense. Barnhart’s playmaking abilities, paired with a defense that has allowed 10.5 points in its last four wins, makes it a tough matchup for struggling Atascadero.
The Greyhounds haven’t been able to get the offense going this season and are coming off a 35-7 loss to Arroyo Grande last week. Although the Atascadero running game has been solid, the team hasn’t been able to find success in the passing game. Three quarterbacks have thrown a total of 77 passes in nine games for Atascadero, only three went for touchdowns while four were intercepted. They Greyhounds will need to rely on a defense that has shown flashes of brilliance this season if it wants to pull off the upset.
Santa Maria at Nipomo, 7 p.m.
In a rematch from last season, Nipomo (4-5, 2-0 Northern) and Santa Maria (5-4, 2-0 Northern) face off again with the Northern League title on the line. Last season Nipomo came away with the 19-14 win to earn its first outright league title. Both teams are undefeated in league play heading into Friday’s game, and Nipomo will again look to take the crown behind a defense that hasn’t allowed a point in two league games this season.
SLO High at Arroyo Grande, 7 p.m.
Arroyo Grande (6-3, 2-1 PAC 5) will look to end the regular season on a high note and keep alive its shot at a share of the PAC 5 title against SLO High (2-7, 0-3 PAC 5).
Templeton at Morro Bay, 7 p.m.
One of these teams will come away with its first Northern League win in the final game of the season. Morro Bay (1-8, 0-2 Northern) will look to rebound from a shutout against Nipomo while Templeton (2-7, 0-2 Northern) will look to get former junior varsity sophomore quarterback Zack Logan more experience heading into next season.
Windward at Mission Prep, 7:30 p.m.
Mission Prep (6-1) will have a rematch against Windward (6-3) in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section 8-man Division 1 playoffs. Mission Prep came away with a 37-28 win the last time the teams met on Oct. 7. In that game running backs Vance Rocha, Brian Kowall and Brayden Farr combined for 265 yards and four touchdowns. More of the same will be needed to get the Royals to the second round.