The Templeton High football team jumped out to a 28-0 first-half lead only to see it almost completely erased by the end of Friday night’s victory over visiting Santa Paula.
But with a few clutch first downs, the Eagles (2-1) were able to hold on late for a 35-28 win.
“We’ve got to learn how to finish out games,” Templeton coach Dan Loney said. “We scored 28 points in the first half and only seven in the second, and to be able to compete in our league, we’re going to end up having to learn how to finish out games. That’s going to be our focus going into this week and the next game.”
Santa Paula (1-1) pulled to within seven with 2:27 left in the fourth quarter, and with the Cardinals attempting to recover their second straight onside kick, the Eagles were able to knock the ball out of bounds to keep possession.
“We had to make a couple key plays to move the chains,” Loney said. “They definitely did have the momentum going into that fourth quarter.”
The Eagles capitalized on three Santa Paula turnovers, including a fumbled punt attempt that was recovered in the end zone for a touchdown by Templeton’s Jared Wilson.
Scott Rigdon had three touchdowns for the Eagles, including a 41-yard reverse pass from Jordan Bernal in the first quarter and a 17-yard pass from Bernal in the second. Nate Avery caught a 9-yard pass from Gunnar Griffin for a score, and Rigdon added a 1-yard touchdown run in the third.
San Luis Obispo 29, Oxnard 26
The Tigers (1-2) earned the first victory of first-year coach Pat Johnston’s tenure with some late-game heroics from Nate Greenelsh and the defense.
Greenelsh scored on an 82-yard return with 1:40 left in the fourth quarter to take the lead. The Tigers then converted a two-point conversion to go up by three. Sam Thompson ran 21 times for 199 yards and was 6-of-13 passing with two touchdowns, both to Greenelsh. The defense held strong, stopping Oxnard twice on fourth down in the fourth quarter.
Arroyo Grande 41, St. Joseph 7
Alex Cecchi had a pair of touchdown runs, Cole Ramey nailed two field goals and the Eagles (2-1) cruised after building a 28-0 halftime lead.
“Offensively, we ran the ball fairly well tonight,” Arroyo Grande coach Tom Goossen said, “and that was good to see. Last week, we ended up throwing a lot more. It was nice to be able to run the ball a little bit.”
Cecchi finished with 110 yards on 18 carries, and Bradley Mickey had five carries for 82 yards, including a 2-yard touchdown run. Mickey also had an interception on defense.
Joey DeLaRosa added 76 rushing yards on seven attempts.
Ramey hit field goals of 47 and 35 yards, both in the second half.
Morro Bay 40, Santa Ana Segerstrom 8
The Pirates defense came up big in the victory, limiting the visitors to a single score in the final 20 seconds of the fourth quarter.
“If you were to take away that last drive,” Morro Bay coach Jack Greer said, “they had 30-40 yards that entire game. Our kids played really, really well defensively.”
Morro Bay (1-2) also impressed on offense.
Among his three touchdown runs, running back Will Unks scored on an 85-yard carry to open the third quarter.
Jordan Liberatore had a touchdown run of more than 40 yards, Greer said, and the Pirates also made a pair of field goals.
Kings Christian 52, Coast Union 17
Lane Sutherland ran for a score and caught another in defeat for the Broncos (0-2).
Gehrig Kniffen had three catches for 55 yards, and Juan Carlos Fernandez kicked a 17-yard field goal. Alexis Mireles was 7-of-21 passing for 116 yards but threw two interceptions for Coast Union, which did not score in the second half.