In the shadow of his own goalpost, Paso Robles High quarterback Justin Davis surveyed the Camarillo defense and knew he had the Scorpions right where he wanted them.
Single coverage on faster-than-you-can-blink Bailey Gaither? See you later.
“The safeties were up,” Davis said. “It’s easy over the top with Gaither’s speed.”
Ninety-one yards later, the Bearcats had the insurance score they desperately needed in what turned out to be a wild, 41-35 shootout win over new Northern Division foe Camarillo on Friday night at War Memorial Stadium.
“It was one-on-one coverage,” Gaither said with a shrug. “I tried to get past him, and once I got past him, the rest is history.”
The long touchdown — in which Gaither had five yards on his defender when he caught the ball at the 35-yard line and at least a 20-yard cushion when he crossed the end zone — put Paso Robles up by 13 with still 6:31 to play.
The Scorpions (1-1) came right back when Jack Constantine connected with Colby Stevens for his fourth touchdown of the game to make it a one-score game again.
But after the Bearcats punted and Camarillo got the ball left with 1:40 to go, Ty Jones made Constantine pay for an overthrow, intercepting the ball and tip-toeing in bounds before being mobbed by his teammates.
“I just saw the receiver was running a corner, the quarterback was staring him down and the ball was overthrown,” Jones said. “I just went for it.”
That play iced the win, but it was the play of Gaither that kept the crowd on its feet from the get-go.
Gaither finished with eight catches for 190 yards and three receiving touchdowns. He had an interception on Camarillo’s first drive and took a kickoff 87 yards for a score in the third quarter directly following a 35-yard touchdown pass from Constantine to Geron Rogers.
“Bailey’s ridiculous,” Jones said. “There’s no one that can match his speed.”
Davis finished 17 of 25 for 283 yards and four touchdowns. The junior, who is coming off an ACL injury from last season, has yet to throw an interception in his varsity career.
“It feels amazing being back on this home field,” he said. “Getting to play on this field is my dream.”
Christian Erickson finished with 107 yards on 21 carries — the majority of which came in a first half when Paso Robles (2-0) imposed its will at the line of scrimmage and took a 28-7 lead into the break.
But Camarillo came out with a purpose in the third quarter, running a hurry-up offense and utilizing screen passes underneath to rack up yardage in chunks.
Constantine finished with 310 yards passing on 31 of 44 with four touchdowns and two interceptions.
Stevens had three touchdowns — two receiving and one rushing — as the Scorpions came back within one possession twice in the fourth quarter.
The Paso Robles defense, however, came up when it mattered most, with Josh Oliver getting a 20-yard sack to end a scoring threat and Jones coming down with the game-sealing interception three drives later.
“It was very stressful,” Davis said. “But once Ty got that interception, we knew we won this game.”