The last time the San Luis Obispo High School football team finished the season with a winning record was 2012 when the Tigers posted a 6-4 mark and advanced to the CIF-Southern Section playoffs — also their last postseason appearance.
Since then, it’s been a rough go for SLO High.
In the past five seasons, the Tigers have recorded 10 wins, including just one in league play, and suffered through a winless, 0-10, campaign in 2016.
But now, just two games into the 2018 season, there’s perhaps reason to look up for SLO High fans. The Tigers defeated Atascadero 21-14 on Friday night, the program’s first over the Greyhounds since 2012, when they won 31-14.
The two teams are no longer a part of the same league — following both schools’ move to the Central Section — but the game still meant something.
“It means a lot to our program,” San Luis Obispo head coach Pat Johnston said. “It’s our neighbor to the north — it’s one that you want to win.
“Not only the just the coaches — the players made it important to win this game.”
Each of San Luis Obispo’s scores came on plays over 40 yards.
The Tigers showed they were capable of the big play last week in a loss against Arroyo Grande, but for the most part, their efforts weren’t rewarded. On Friday, they were.
Junior Anthony Arroyo emerged as the feature back for San Luis Obispo, carrying the ball 16 times for 112 yards — including a 56-yard touchdown to open the scoring.
Emilio Corona had 86 yards through the air. His longest came when he found Max Soltero on a slant for a 42-yard touchdown to put SLO High up 21-7 with 4:50 left in the game. The score ended up being the game winner.
Corona also had a 62-yard run for a score on a read option.
For the second consecutive week, the Tigers defense was up against another offensive line that was much larger. That didn’t stop them from creating two turnovers —a fumble recovery by Matthew Shetler and an interception by Jason Dowdy.
Shetler’s fumble recovery came on the heels of a 62-yard pass by Atascadero’s Tyler Chapman, which had the Greyhounds within the red-zone.
“There was no panic,” Johnston said. “(The defense) stuck to what we knew we could do, and they made plays when they needed to.”
The defense consistently got pressure on both Chapman and Westley Cooper, rarely providing clean looks or passing lanes.
“Not a lot of sacks on the stat line,” Johnston said, “But the defensive line affected the quarterback a lot.”
Design by committee
The Greyhounds alternated between juniors Cooper and Chapman at quarterback.Chapman had the most success, finishing 10 for 24 for 196 yards and a score. Wideout Kyle Spurgeon and tight end Seth Robasciotti emerged as favorite targets for each quarterback, combining for 148 yards receiving.
On the ground, Scott Morgan added a rushing touchdown and 55 yards on 10 carries for Atascadero.
Atascadero (0-1) will play host to Stockdale (0-2) of Bakersfield.
SanLuis Obispo (1-1) will travel to Santa Barbara to play San Marcos (0-2).
Scores involving SLO County teams
Paso Robles 17, Frontier 14
Helix 34, Arroyo Grande 3
Nipomo 45, Cabrillo 14
Aptos 55, Templeton 6
Gonzales 50, Morro Bay 7
Other Central Coast scores
Santa Ynez 14, Carpinteria 7
St. Paul 31, Lompoc 13
Righetti 49, Oak Park 21
St. Joseph 35, Pioneer Valley 19