High School Sports

Arroyo Grande 35, San Luis Obispo 7: Big first half lifts Eagles to win

San Luis Obispo High’s Dylan Candaele is surrounded by Arroyo Grande defenders during Friday’s game, a 35-7 win by the Eagles.
San Luis Obispo High’s Dylan Candaele is surrounded by Arroyo Grande defenders during Friday’s game, a 35-7 win by the Eagles. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

Before the start of this season, the Arroyo Grande High football team designed its weight-room T-shirts to carry a simple mantra: “Bring it back.”

The Eagles, who had suffered through three straight losing seasons following decades of success that included four CIF-Southern Section divisional championships from 1987 to 1998, look to be living up to their preseason calling.

Arroyo Grande scored all of its points in the first half Friday night during a 35-7 win over visiting rival San Luis Obispo at Doug Hitchen Stadium. It was the Eagles’ first win over the Tigers since 2005.

“We’ve waited four years for this,” Arroyo Grande senior offensive tackle Sean Brown said.

In the first half, the Eagles (5-1, 1-0 PAC 7) amassed 167 rushing yards while holding San Luis Obispo (3-3, 1-1 PAC 7) to only 66 yards of total offense.

“They’ve obviously gotten our number the last three years, so it was good to kind of turn the tables,” Eagles coach Tom Goossen said. “It was a very satisfying win.”

Arroyo Grande finished with 223 rushing yards.

“We’ve got a lot of power,” said Brown, a 6-foot-7, 288-pounder. “We’ve put in a lot of work in the weight room.”

Christian Crichton rushed for a game-high 105 yards and a score on 19 attempts, and Russell Perkins ran for 67 yards and three touchdowns on 10 carries.

After the game, scores of Eagles players’ families and friends took the field in celebration.

“That’s what we worked for, to bring it back,” Crichton said. “But this is just our first league game. We can’t stop here. We’ve got to keep going and truly bring it back.”

The Eagles opened the scoring with 8 minutes, 48 seconds remaining in the first quarter, as Perkins reached the end zone on a 9-yard run.

The drive began after San Luis Obispo lost a fumble at its own 38-yard line on the first series of the contest.

“We didn’t control the line of scrimmage,” Tigers coach David Kelley said. “You can’t turn the ball over that many times and expect to win.”

With 4:25 left in the first, Eagles quarterback Matt McAustin hit tight end Kelly Shepard for a 40-yard strike down the right sideline to push the lead to 14-0.

A 2-yard plunge by Crichton made matters 21-0 just 50 seconds into the second, and Perkins scored on a 1-yard dive with 3:19 remaining in the half to extend the margin to 28-0.

Perkins made it 35-0 by adding a 6-yard run 1:18 before intermission after the Eagles blocked a punt, recovering at the Tigers 10-yard line.

In the second half, San Luis Obispo’s Alex Frost snared an interception, leading to an 8-yard touchdown pass from Anthony Maez to Josh James with 4:41 left in the third.

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