Carson Rinkenberger threw three touchdown passes, including the game-winner to Lucas Sprouse with 4:19 remaining Friday night, as the Atascadero High football team rallied for a 26-23 road victory over Stockdale of Bakersfield.
The game was pushed back to almost a 9 p.m. start time because of a high heat index in the Bakersfield area.
Once the game started, the Greyhounds wasted no time getting going, scoring on the opening kickoff when Tysen Delkener returned it 96 yards for a touchdown.
Later in the first quarter, Rinkenberger threw his first touchdown pass of the game, an 8-yarder to R.J. Reusche.
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Reusche handled the bulk of the running load for Atascadero when Marc Martin had to leave the game after the first quarter because of respiratory issues. Reusche finished with 148 yards on 19 carries, despite suffering some cramping issues, Atascadero coach Vic Cooper said. Martin had 3 carries for 58 yards in his limited action.
Stockdale used two time-consuming drives to get back into the game, pulling with 19-14 entering the fourth period.
Stockdale then took the lead when it got a safety when a bad snap sailed over the Atascadero punter’s head in the end zone. Stockdale then scored on the ensuing drive to take its first lead of the game at 23-19 with a little over seven minutes remaining.
The Greyhounds responded, going about 75 yards on the game-winning drive. Atascadero appeared to take the lead on a Delkener 60-yard touchdown run, but that was wiped out because of a holding penalty.
Unfazed, Elijah Cooks had a 34-yard catch-and-run on the winning drive to help set up the winning touchdown pass from Rinkenberger to Sprouse.
After three quarterbacks saw action in last week’s season-opening win over Morro Bay, the Greyhounds went exclusively with Rinkenberger, who completed 8 of 12 passes for 114 yards with no interceptions and the three touchdown passes.
“Carson played a really good game,” Cooper said. “He kind of solidified himself in that spot. I still think Elijah Cooks can be a good quarterback for us and he’ll get more playing time and be more involved in the offense as the weeks go on.”
Cooper said he was pleased with the defensive line play of Teddy Rose, Tannen Soojian, Jordan Council and John-Conner Ruggiero. Cooper also praised the play of Kian Biro, who had to step in at linebacker when Martin was unable to play the final three quarters.
“We kind of played a little bit of a bend but don’t break defense there for a while,” Cooper said. “I felt like we were about three or four tackles away from making it a 26-14 game instead of 26-23. But we got the stops we needed and were able to run out the clock at the end.”
ATASCADERO 26, STOCKDALE 23
Score by quarters:
Atascadero 13 0 6 7— 26
Stockdale 0 7 7 9— 23
A — Tysen Delkener 96 kickoff return (Logan Armstrong kick)
A — R.J. Reusche 8 pass from Carson Rinkenberger (kick blocked)
A — Izaiah Sheeter 21 pass from Rinkenberger (kick blocked).
A — Lucas Sprouse 26 pass from Rinkenberger (Brian Vazquez kick)
RUSHING — Atascadero: Marc Martin 3-58, Reusche 19-148, Tannen Soojian 3-22, Nigel Warrem 7-18, Rinkenberger 3-7.
PASSING — Atascadero: Rinkenberger 8-12-0, 114.
RECEIVING — Atascadero: Elijah Cooks 3-48, Reusche 2-10, Sprouse 1-26, Sheeter 1-21, Sean Moller 1-9.