The Atascadero High football team clinched a share of the PAC 7 title Friday night with a 28-7 win over San Luis Obispo as Izaiah Cooks ran over the Tigers defense.
Cooks finished with season highs of 235 yards and 32 carries and had two touchdowns. Atascadero (7-2, 5-0) ran for 357 yards despite starting fullback Ethan Hicks missing the game with an injury. Marc Martin helped pick up the slack by rushing for 77 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries. Nick Ducasse had 47 yards on five carries.
The Tigers (4-5, 1-4) stunned the Greyhounds crowd with a 62-yard touchdown pass on a swing play from Thomas Orradre to Nate Greenelsh on the third play from scrimmage. The upset bid would be short-lived, as San Luis Obispo only had 57 yards the rest of the game.
Atascadero’s passing game struggled, as quarterback Robbie Berwick was 1-for-8 passing in the first half for 37 yards. In the second half, the Greyhounds abandoned the pass as they ran 32 times out of 33 offensive plays after halftime. Berwick completed his lone second-half pass to Cooks for 21 yards on the first drive in the third quarter.
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“We know they (San Luis Obispo) have a lot of guys that play on both sides of the ball. We knew that running the ball a lot would wear them down, and it did. Shoving it down their throats works best,” Cooks said.
Martin scored on a 7-yard run in the second quarter to tie the score at 7 at halftime. Touchdown runs by Cooks and Martin in the third quarter blew the game open, and a Cooks 4-yard score in the beginning of the fourth sealed it.
The win set up a rivalry game for Atascadero against Paso Robles that will decide the PAC 7 championship. Atascadero has not lost a PAC 7 game since Nov. 3, 2012, when the Bearcats beat the Greyhounds 16-14. That game decided who would finish fourth in the PAC 7. This game has much more at stake.
“It’s going to be a great game against Paso,” Atascadero coach Vic Cooper said. “There are only a few handfuls of rivalries like this in Southern California where both towns will be all-out. For it to be for the league title, that makes it really special.”