The Arroyo Grande High School football team rallied from a 19-7 deficit to a wild 36-32 home victory Friday night over Garces of Bakersfield.
A tale of two halves
The Eagles struggled to move the ball in the first half and suffered lapses in concentration. Multiple offside penalties extended Garces’ drives and kept the defense on the field. Garces ran the ball effectively and often between the duo of Conor Bruce and Isaiah Martin.
The second half was a different story, with Arroyo Grande senior quarterback Sawyer May leading the way in the Eagles’ up-tempo offense. May scored two rushing touchdowns in the second half, one from 25 yards out, shedding tacklers as he went, and another from eight yards out to all but seal the victory. He also threw a 7-yard dart to Tyler Rocha for a score and converted two two-point conversions on the ground.
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Arroyo Grande’s offensive line opened up big holes in the second half and the Eagles took advantage. James Gilmet rattled off a 44-yard touchdown run and the line paved the way for many of May’s scrambles.
Matt Sill was a force in the return game, twice returning kickoffs past the 50-yard line. Sill also caught nine passes for 115 yards, connecting on out routes and crosses over the middle time and time again for big chunks of yardage.
Garces’ quarterback Conor Bruce placed third at the CIF State Masters meet in the 200 meters (21.89) and was fourth in the 100 meters (10.08), and he used his speed running sideline to sideline — no one could stay with him. Bruce was slowed in the second half by Arroyo Grande defenders who chased him laterally and stayed near the line of scrimmage. Bruce threw for three scores and ran for two more, but only two of the scores came in the second half.
May almost doubled his attempts from Arroyo Grande’s season opener in the first half of Friday’s game. He finished 12 for 23 for 151 yards through the air, but five of those plays were longer than 15 yards. He also had a team-high 117 yards rushing on 16 attempts.