Whatever the Righetti High football team has on Atascadero, it’s a wonder more PAC 7 teams can’t copy it.
The Warriors (4-2, 1-0 PAC 7) held on for a 13-3 win to spoil the Greyhounds’ homecoming at Memorial Stadium on Friday, once again proving that while they may look ordinary against other teams in the league, the Warriors are super men against Atascadero (4-1, 0-1 PAC 7) — the closest thing the Greyhounds have to kryptonite, at least.
“You just gotta convince your kids that you can play against these guys,” Righetti coach Gary Wilson said. “They’re a tough football team. They come at you, and they want to beat you up, and if you stand up to it and man up, you can play with them.”
The game’s been a coin flip since 2006, and each contest has been close. During a span in which the Greyhounds have captured three straight PAC 7 titles, the Warriors have given Atascadero its only two league losses.
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The Greyhounds took a 19-14 win last season and a 17-13 win in 2006. Righetti won 21-13 in 2007, but Atascadero was able to win four straight that year and tie Paso Robles for the PAC 7 crown.
“We’re down, but we’re not out,” Greyhounds coach Vic Cooper said. “The same thing happened a couple years ago, and we ran off four wins … We’re going to keep going to work, and the nice thing is our defense showed up to play tonight. We put those two game plans together, we’re going to be OK.”
About the defense, Cooper was three-quarters right.
Righetti had its way in the first quarter, putting up 10 points and passing all over the field. Warriors quarterback T.J. Jordan completed his first four passes and went into the half having thrown just one incomplete pass in 11 attempts.
After the half, the Greyhounds put much more pressure on Jordan, who finished 12 of 18 for 186 yards and a touchdown. Righetti’s only second-half score was a gift-wrapped 24-yard field goal that sealed the game with 1:03 left.
Attempting to make one last-ditch comeback effort, Atascadero turned the ball over on a botched punt return and was hit with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that gave the Warriors the ball at the Greyhounds 10-yard line.
“I could see a lot of kids with their heads down after that,” Atascadero running back Sterling Bullard said.
It was a bittersweet return from injury for Bullard, who’s missed parts of three games with various ankle injuries.
Bullard rushed 21 times for 123 yards, including a 55-yard run that resulted in a 24-yard field goal by Joey Dodds in the third quarter, but on Bullard’s first carry of the game, he fumbled the ball away.
That turnover allowed Jordan to scramble to his right and hit Eric Wilson streaking down the sideline for a 31-yard touchdown strike.
“We still had a chance throughout the game,” Bullard said, “but just the downers kind of stopped our momentum and we lost it.”