No one outside of the Arroyo Grande High football team’s locker room will truly know what was said at halftime. Maybe there was a grand speech given by coach Tom Goossen, all to calm down the panic and then to inspire the players to overcome an unexpected deficit.
Whatever happened during that 15-minute break helped.
Arroyo Grande prevailed 45-36 over Chaminade in the semifinals of the CIF Southern Section Western Division playoffs on Friday night despite an early 14-0 deficit, a 21-14 halftime hole and a 242-yard, four-touchdown performance by speedy Terrell Newby, who is already considered a top-notch recruit as a junior.
This is the second consecutive year that Arroyo Grande has reached this point, as it will face Culver City — the winner over Santa Monica in the other semifinal matchup — at home next week in the championship game.
Goossen was asked after the game, which attracted thousands of fans to his school’s Hitchen Stadium, if he gave a dramatic speech at halftime. He laughed, without truly answering the question.
“All we do is try and coach,” he said, smiling. “We try to make some subtle adjustments. It’s more of a philosophy and the credit goes to the kids.”
The second half started with Garrett Owens’ 33-yard field goal, which made up for a rare miss from 29 yards earlier in the game. That was followed by a Tyler Auerbach fumble recovery, which set up the third of Brent VanderVeen’s three touchdown passes — as this one was a 7-yarder to Seth Jacobs — to take the lead at 23-21. VanderVeen completed 7 of 13 passes for 143 yards.
That’s when Arroyo Grande began its dominance, outscoring Chaminade 31-15 in the second half.
“We came out playing the same football game,” Owens said. “We just came out fired up. Throughout the year we come out hot in the second half. The work we do in practice is really paying off. This was amazing.”
Arroyo Grande scored three TDs in the fourth quarter, destroying any chance of Chaminade trying to make a comeback. Its defense also stepped up, slowing down Newby — he had just 70 of his 242 yards in the second half — just enough.
“We filled the gaps. We wrapped him up,” said Jacobs, who had four TDs (two rushing, two receiving). “Instead of breaking tackles and making big gains, we wrapped him up for minimal gains.”
Henry Adelman was also big for Arroyo Grande, as the senior running back rushed 17 times for 153 yards and set up Jacobs’ rushing TDs. Owens also had an interception that led to a late score and give Arroyo Grande a 45-28 lead before Chaminade’s Newby had a meaningless late TD.
Now, Arroyo Grande is just one more win away from becoming the first San Luis Obispo County team to win a section title in 10 years.
“It feels good,” Jacobs said. “We just have to take advantage of it.”
BOX SCOREARROYO GRANDE 45, CHAMINADE 36
Score by Quarters
Chaminade 14 7 0 15 – 36Arroyo Grande 7 7 10 21 – 45
Scoring SummaryFirst QuarterC — Terrell Newby 1 run (Ben Kreitenberg kick) 5:28C — Newby 1 run (Kreitenberg kick) 3:22AG — Seth Jacobs 61 pass from Brent VanderVeen (Garrett Owens kick) 1:08Second QuarterC — Newby 1 run (Kreitenberg kick) 7:07AG — Gabe Deleon 16 pass from VanderVeen (Owens kick) 6:06Third QuarterAG — Owens 33 FG 8:28AG — Jacobs 7 pass from VanderVeen (Owens kick) 5:15Fourth QuarterAG — Jacobs 1 run (Owens) 11:10C — Elijah Dunston 21 pass from Logan Scott (Kreitenberg kick) 7:33AG — Jacobs 1 run (Owens) 6:22AG — Owens 1 run (Owens) 0:45C — Newby 2 run (Scott Logan run) 0:23——— C AGFirst downs 22 13Rushes yards 57-307 38-303Passing yards 185 143Passes 12-22-1 7-13-0Total yards 492 446Punts-avg. 3-43 2-28Fumbles-lost 1-1 0-0Penalties-yards 6-50 4-18———INDIVIDUAL STATISTICSRUSHING — Chaminade: Newby 42-242, Scott 12-66, Donovan Lee 2-2, Dunston 1-(-3). Arroyo Grande: Deleon 7-38, Henry Adelman 16-153.PASSING — Chaminade: Scott 12-22-1 185. Arroyo Grande: VanderVeen 7-13-0 143.RECEIVING — Chaminade: Kevin Lewallyn 5-60, Dunston 6-47, Isaiah Bernard 1-78. Arroyo Grande: Deleon 3-39, Jacobs 2-68, Owens 2-36.