San Luis Obispo High School controlled the potent rushing attack of Pioneer Valley in Saturday afternoon’s home opener, but the Tigers had no answer for the deep ball and fell to the Panthers 38-10.
Pioneer Valley’s quarterback-reciever combination of Matthew Garica and Leo Partida-Ruiz torched the San Luis Obispo secondary all afternoon, combining for three long touchdowns on the way to a convincing win. Garcia, a junior, finished the game 9 of 13 for 221 yards and three touchdowns. Partida-Ruiz had six catches for 181 yards and three touchdowns.
“It was a nice victory for them, (the passing game) was one of our key points to open up this week,” Pioneer Valley head coach John Ruiz said. “San Luis is a great team, and we couldn’t run the ball on them, so we tried to open it up.”
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San Luis Obispo head coach Pat Johnston wasn’t happy with the way his team came out in the unusual day game.
“I felt like we let the different conditions of our game affect us in a negative way,” Johnston said. “Just because we are playing on a different day doesn’t mean that our preparation process should suffer.”
Meinhold Goes Down
Senior San Luis Obipso quarterback William Meinhold, who was battling injuries coming into the season, had to be carried off the field in the second half after going down with cramps in his legs, according to Johnston. He had a rough time throwing the ball before that, going 5 of 14 for 48 yards and three interceptions, including one that was returned for a touchdown.
With no throwing quarterback on the roster to back him up, the Tigers ran the option-read offense with running back Javon Montgomery. The speedy junior played well in relief, breaking a handful of tackles during a 55-yard touchdown run for Tigers only foray into the end zone of the game on the play after Meinhold was taken out. Montgomery finished the game with 120 yards on 15 carries and a touchdown. Pierson Mosichuk, who was clearly the focal point of the Panthers defense, added 68 yards on 16 carries.
SLO Defensive Line
Though SLO High couldn’t stop the long passes from Pioneer Valley and couldn’t move the ball through the air themselves, the defensive line played well the entire game, an encouraging sign for Johnston. Ethan Denneen and Alessio Battain were part of a defensive unit that held a Pioneer Valley rushing attack that dominated Nipomo last week to under 70 yards rushing.
San Luis Obispo (0-2) will look to earn its first win of the season when it travels to Templeton (0-1) on Friday, while Pioneer Valley (2-0) heads to Arroyo Grande (1-1).