On a hot Friday night in Atascadero, the Ventura High School offense was even hotter. The Cougars jumped out to a 35-0 halftime lead over the Greyhounds and went on to win 49-0.
Giant Game for Gerardi
Ventura quarterback Kyle Gerardi got things going for Ventura in a big way. The 6-foot-3 junior’s perfectly placed deep ball to Gavin Blanks went for an 80-yard touchdown to open the scoring.
Following an Atascadero fumble, Gerardi showed poise with a pump-fake touchdown pass to Joey Thompson to make it 21-0.
The Atascadero defense had no answer for Gerardi and the Cougars offense all night.
Gerardi finished the half 14-of-18 passing for 180 yards and two touchdowns, and Ventura took a 35-0 lead to the locker room.
Ventura senior running back Chuck Wick also had a big first half, rushing for 70 yards on nine carries and two touchdowns.
All the starters were pulled in the second half.
“They are a very good football team. You will hear a lot from them,” Atascadero head coach Vic Cooper said. “We probably made them look a little better than they are, and we aren’t as bad as we looked.”
Run Game Goes Nowhere
A solid Ventura defensive line and two key injuries for Atascadero made the Greyhounds run game obsolete. Atascadero senior running back Arik Machado was swarmed all night, and the Greyhounds offense gained just 42 yards of total offense in the first half as the mistakes and fumbles made things worse.
Injuries Pile Up
Atascadero senior offensive lineman Alex Cooper sat out Friday after a suffering a concussion in the Greyhounds’ Week 0 win over Foothill. Starting junior quarterback Cade VanAllen also missed Friday’s game with an injury. Both are questionable for next week. Things got worse for Atascadero when starting offensive and defensive linemen Blake Rose went down with an apparent knee injury in the second half.
“That’s horrible. That’s a rough one,” Cooper said of Rose’s injury. “Hopefully it’s a strain and not a tear.”
At Home in Heat
During the week, the Ventura athletic department pushed to have the game played at their field due to the extreme heat that hit Atascadero on Friday. That didn’t happen, obviously, but Ventura coach Tim Garica said he welcomed the heat.
“(The heat) was a concern for everybody else but us,” Garcia said. “We wanted to come up here and play.”
The game was pushed back a half hour to a 7:30 p.m. start time. The temperature at kick off was right around 98 degrees.
Atascadero will head to the scorching Central Valley for its next two games — on Friday at Stockdale (Bakersfield) and Frontier (Bakersfield) the following week.