There was no suspense this time.
A year ago, the Arroyo Grande High football team held on late to claim a hard-fought 7-0 win over Nipomo.
On Friday night, the Eagles got out to a 35-0 first-half lead on their way to a 45-6 win over the Titans at Doug Hitchen Stadium in the third all-time meeting between the Lucia Mar School District neighbors eight miles apart.
“It’s a big win for the community,” Eagles senior running back Christian Crichton said. “It gives our school a lot of pride.”
It also gave Arroyo Grande a 2-1 lead in the short-lived series, which has quickly become one of the most-hyped nonleague rivalries along the Central Coast.
The Titans christened the series with a 24-0 road win in 2008. Seven current Eagles players were on the losing end of that one and were able to conjure the memory heading into Friday, including Crichton — who rushed for a game-high 81 yards and a touchdown on seven carries.
“Our focus is on league and winning all those games that matter (for playoff positioning) down the road,” Crichton said.
Arroyo Grande (2-0) opened with a 13-7 escape of a win last week at Lompoc, which last year finished last in the PAC 7.
“As long as we stay united and keep moving forward with steps like this every week, we’ll be fine,” junior kicker and receiver Garrett Owens said.
Overall, Arroyo Grande outgained Nipomo 347-162 and didn’t punt until 9:30 remained in the fourth quarter.
Finding room behind an offensive line featuring four new starters, Eagles running back Ciaran Costa added 56 yards and a score on 10 carries.
“Our line deserves all the credit,” Crichton said. “They played a great game.”
Quarterback Seth Jacobs went 4-of-5 passing for 106 yards and two touchdowns for Arroyo Grande. He alternated series with Brent Vanderveen, who was 2 of 2 for 50 yards and a touchdown and took six carries for 28 yards and another score.
“I’m extremely pleased,” Arroyo Grande coach Tom Goossen said. “We came out in the first half and did a lot of the things we have to do to be successful in games to come.”
Jordan Morrison had a game-high 68 receiving yards and a touchdown on two catches for the Eagles. Owens had a 34-yard touchdown catch, while L.T. Johnson got the scoring started with a 26-yard catch-and-run.
A 37-yard field goal by Owens — who booted six touchbacks on the night — completed the scoring with 1:35 remaining in the third.“They dominated us up front,” Titans coach Russ Edwards said. “There’s no other way to put it.
“We really didn’t give ourselves an opportunity to get plays started. They had guys in our backfield all night.”
Nipomo (0-1) — which opened the season with a bye — graduated 17 starters from its best squad in the eight-year varsity history of the program last year, including four Division I players and all five starting offensive linemen.
“It was a learning experience for a young team,” Edwards said.
Titans running back Devonte Jackson finished with a team-high 48 yards on 15 carries and gave Nipomo its only score with a 21-yard touchdown lob to Micah DeBruno on a halfback pass with 7:36 left in the third.
“The measure of a team is how you bounce back from getting your teeth kicked in, and we were getting our teeth kicked in,” Edwards said. “They came out and battled a little harder in the second half.”
Chris Souza made his first start at quarterback for Nipomo, going 5-of-9 passing for 35 yards.
“Especially with the way things were snowballing,” Edwards said of Souza, a junior, “I thought he showed some really good leadership qualities and stayed positive the whole game.”