Just when the Arroyo Grande High football team found itself on the ropes, the Eagles turned to quarterback Brent VanderVeen.
In the fourth quarter, he hit senior Gabe Deleon for a 43-yard touchdown pass to seal the Eagles’ 28-14 PAC 7 win over St. Joseph on Friday night.
It was one of the many highlights VanderVeen had against the Knights. In what was arguably his best game of the season, the senior quarterback committed to Oregon State finished 18 for 25 with 245 yards and a touchdown.
Early on, though, it was St. Joseph and its quarterback, Paul Avila, who stole the show.
Avila made a statement early, leading the Knights (2-3, 0-2) 80 yards on the game’s opening drive, cashing in on a Wesley Williams 12-yard touchdown to put the Knights up 7-0.
The Knights kept that momentum rolling. On the ensuing drive, Arroyo Grande (5-1, 2-0 PAC 7) drove to the 1-yard line but St. Joseph came up with a goal-line stand as VanderVeen couldn’t score on a quarterback sneak. In the second quarter, though, Arroyo Grande found its rhythm. Running back Henry Adelman, who had four rushing touchdowns against Atascadero a week ago, scored on a 1-yard run to tie the score at 7.
In the third quarter, the Eagles kept rolling, getting rushing touchdowns of 1 and 4 yards from Adelman, sandwiched around a 3-yard St. Joseph passing touchdown from Avila to Ryan Mediano.
With the Eagles leading 21-14, the Knights had a chance to tie when they intercepted VanderVeen and took over at the Arroyo Grande 43-yard line with five minutes left in the game.
But the Arroyo Grande defense stepped up and forced a punt, leading to the game-clinching touchdown pass from VanderVeen to Deleon.Adelman led the Eagles on the ground with 125 yards and three touchdowns on 17 carries.