The past 11 days have been trying for the Paso Robles football team.
Last week, head coach Larry Grant left the team in a mutual parting of ways, according to the Paso Robles Joint Unified School District, and was replaced by interim head coach J.R. Reynolds. The former junior varsity head coach became the fourth Paso Robles varsity head coach in less than a year. In his first game leading the team, Reynolds had the difficult task of stopping a talented McClymonds team. In the end, Paso Robles defense had no answer for the stiff arm of McClymonds quarterback Emoreea Fountain on Friday night in Paso Robles.
The bulky senior quarterback pushed away Bearcats defenders all night. He fended off four would-be tacklers on a 75-yard touchdown run in the third quarter to put the game away and seal a 20-9 McClymonds win.
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“I was just proud of how our team grinded through it tonight,” Reynolds said after the game.
He added the team has been resilient though the recent coaching changes.
“They have been together. That’s the goal, to get better and stay together and grind through this tough preseason we have,” Reynolds said.
Fountain finished the game with 192 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries.
He was just as good passing, going 9-of-12 for 102 yards and a scrambling touchdown pass to Day’marr Johnson as the first half expired to put the Oakland Section team up 14-3 going into halftime.
Ground Game Stopped
The Paso Robles offense tried the work its power run game, led by Julian Madrigal, in the first half. But the McClymonds defense was up to the task. An interception by Paso Robles senior Noah Durfee on the first drive of the game ended with no points after the offense failed to convert on a fourth-and-short at the McClymonds 20-yard line. Madrigal had 34 yards rushing in the first half and finished the game with 17 carries for 49 yards and the Bearcats only touchdown.
The passing game also struggled to find its rhythm. Paso Robles senior quarterback Zach Hanson went 4-for-9 for 79 yards.
A bright spot Paso Robles was the play of senior kicker Cade England. His 45-yard field goal gave Paso Robles an early 3-0 lead. Later in the game, he unloaded a booming 70-yard punt into the endzone and followed that with a highlight tackle on a punt return that saved a possible touchdown.
“He’s a great football player and a great kid. He’s a D1 guy,” Reynolds said.
Grant at the Game
Grant was in attendance but watched from outside the perimeter fence. After the game, Grant hung near the field as a few players shook his hand. Grant declined to answer any questions involving the circumstances of his departure.
“I am just here to watch the boys play,” he said.
Paso Robles has another home game next Friday against Cajon (San Bernardino).