The Atascadero High football team opened its season with a 35-7 win at Salinas on Thursday night.
Atascadero senior quarterback Jesse Whitten went 8-of-15 passing for 203 yards and three touchdowns.
The Greyhounds posted three first-quarter touchdowns and led 21-7 at halftime.
“We obviously have a reputation as a running team, and they are very much a running team like we are, so they had us well scouted,” Greyhounds coach Vic Cooper said. “They were a little aggressive (defending the run) early on, and we caught them a few times (with the passing game).”
The first score came on a 22-yard pass from Whitten to Troy Norris on a fade pattern. Soon after, a 57-yard Whitten bomb to Luke Allen set up Tanner Thompson for a 4-yard touchdown run that made it 14-0.
The Greyhounds’ final points of the first half came on a 16-yard pass from Whitten to running back Stetson Bullard.
The Cowboys (0-1) got on the scoreboard with a marathon drive just before halftime, but Atascadero’s defense held after the break.
“We got some first-game kinks worked out,” Cooper said. “It wasn’t necessarily pretty all over the place on both sides of the ball, but we got it done.
“We’re hoping to make that Game 1-to-Game 2 improvement.”
In the third quarter, Atascadero running back Deonte Barnes scored on a 3-yard run, before Whitten hit tight end Weston Walker in the flat for a 68-yard catch-and-run in the fourth to round out the scoring.
Thompson finished with a team-high 57 rushing yards on seven carries. Barnes rushed for 48 yards on four carries, while Bullard added 34 yards on five attempts.
Barnes and Logan Sprouse both intercepted passes in the nonleague win.