Paso Robles High is two games into the 2015 season and already has matched its loss total from 2014.
Last season the Bearcats posted a 13-2 record on the way to capturing a CIF-Southern Section title, but this season the Bearcats are still trying to get their first win.
A lack of offensive balance and a struggling defense have been a problem for the PAC 5 team. Junior running back Christian Erickson has continued to dominate on the ground, racking up an average of 146 yards in the first two games, but quarterback Justin Davis has struggled to find his way so far following the graduation of receiver Bailey Gaither.
In Friday’s 41-14 loss to Camarillo, Davis threw for 79 yards, 39 of which came on one pass to Gaither’s would-be successor, Steven Schouten. Add to that some sloppy play and untimely penalties, and the Bearcats are now in a 0-2 hole.
Before the season began, coach Rich Schimke was asked how he would replace Gaither and star tight ends Josh Oliver and Johnathan Baldwin. His response: “I don’t know.”
Two games into the season it looks like that question is still unanswered.
PAC 5 shaping up to be PAC 2
Unlike Paso Robles, Righetti and San Luis Obispo, who are a combined 0-6, Arroyo Grande and Atascadero are in top form.
Arroyo Grande (2-0) went on the road Friday night and had a 45-13 over Independence. What makes the Eagles’ wins so impressive is how they’re scoring — at will and in big chunks.
Of the 13 touchdowns scored by Arroyo Grande this season, seven have been on plays of 45 yards or more. Friday night was highlighted by a 99-yard catch-and-run by Bradley Mickey and a 63-yard touchdown pass to Matthew Sill, both from the arm of quarterback Sawyer May, who has 518 yards passing in the first two games.
Atascadero (1-0) thrashed Morro Bay 62-14 in its first game of the season and showed it can go toe-to-toe offensively with the Eagles. The Greyhounds’ senior running back tandem of
Marc Martin and R.J. Reusche combined for three touchdowns against an undersized Pirates defense. Coach Vic Cooper also got a chance to look at his depth at tailback. Senior Tannen Sooijan, who also had two sacks on defense, added two touchdowns on the ground, and juniors Colby Olive and Nigel Warren played well after Martin and Reusche took the second half off.
At this point in the season, the edge goes to the Eagles because of their balanced offensive and defensive attacks and the fact that Atascadero has still not named a starting quarterback.
Northern League look
No teams have really jumped off the board in the Northern League so far. Templeton (1-0) has the early edge thanks to a senior quarterback and a running attack that was led in the Eagles’ first game by a 16-carry, 242-yard, 2-touchdown performance by senior running back Michael Capelli. Templeton, which hosted Beverly Hills on Saturday night, also has Jordan Bernal, a senior quarterback with playoff experience.
The lack of experience for Nipomo quarterback Gavin Hall hurt the Titans (1-1) in their second game of the season. Hall was 5 of 15 passing for 50 yards and an interception in Nipomo’s 18-13 loss to Lompoc. On the ground, Hall has managed just 47 yards on 14 carries (3.4 yards per carry) this season despite being touted as more of a runner than a passer.
There is still time for Hall to turn things around and he has shown he can throw. He has two TDs in each game this season. Hall also has the support of a solid defense and the ground game should improve once the suspended Antonio Navarro returns for the team’s fourth game.
At Mission Prep (1-0), much of the attention in The Tribune’s football season preview went to junior quarterback Bryce Fledderman, but it was running back Brayden Corona who stole the headlines in the Royals’ opener.
The junior running back scored three rushing touchdowns and had 211 yards rushing on 25 carries in the 23-6 win over Rio Hondo.
The Royals’ defense also stepped up and allowed Rio Hondo to convert just 1 of 12 third down conversions. Fledderman struggled a bit and finished 10 of 24 for 98 yards and an interception. The Royals will also need to clean up penalties if it wants to contend for a Northern League title. Mission Prep had 19 penalties for 155 yards Friday.