Arroyo Grande High quarterback Brent VanderVeen sat in the pocket, and then sat some more.
After about five seconds, he stepped up and tossed a 17-yard pass to Henry Adelman. On the next play, he did the same thing and hit Adelman again, this time for a 10-yard gain.
Over and over again, he had time. And over and over again, the way Arroyo Grande was going to win the CIF-Southern Section Western Division final became clearer and clearer.
They’d do so in the trenches.
All of the Arroyo Grande linemen — Garrett Weinreich, Brandon Berguia, Trevor Marsden, Cody Hunstad and Justin Purkey — helped neutralize a Culver City defensive line that came into Friday’s matchup averaging 3.8 sacks per game, and propelled the Eagles to a 42-14 win in the CIF-Southern Section Western Division final.
“Obviously, that is where the game was ultimately won,” Eagles coach Tom Goossen said. “That’s where it almost always is in a football contest. As long as we could control the line of scrimmage, we could win most games. I thought our kids did a great job of doing that.”
It’s nothing new for the big guys up front, as they’d help VanderVeen complete 58 percent of his passes coming into Friday’s game, for 2,244 yards and 19 touchdowns. They also paved the way for running back Henry Adelman to rush for 1,120 yards. As a team, the Eagles had 45 total rushing touchdowns entering Friday’s game.
They’ve been so good, in fact, that their play may have been historic.
“We’ve put up some points over the years so I have to believe that it is one of the best offensive lines we’ve ever had here,” Goossen said. “Weinreich is one of the best football players I’ve seen in a long, long time.”
In the second half, though, Weinreich and the rest of the Eagles showed a bit of weakness. They gave up a 12-yard sack on third down to stop all momentum the Eagles had on their first possession of the third quarter. They then got called for a holding penalty to nullify a touchdown run in the red zone.
They bounced back, however, to allow running back Gabe Deleon to reach the end zone untouched from 21 yards out to put the Eagles up by 14 points at 28-14.
They’d do so again, and again, allowing Deleon to score from 58 yards and 15 yards to put the game out of reach for Culver City.
“We just tore it up tonight, there is nothing else to it,” Weinreich said. “We get things done.”
By doing so, the Eagles gained 505 yards of total offense, 302 rushing and 203 through the air, and ended the season by scoring 40 points or more in their past five games.
“It’s been a long time, the kids have worked so darn hard, this is such a thrill,” Goossen said. “I am thrilled for them, thrilled for the program, and I am thrilled for the community. It’s been a wonderful event and we took care of business tonight.”
And most importantly they took care of business up front. In fact, in what could be the final game of all five senior lineman’s careers, the Eagles’ offensive line helped their team do something that no others in program history have done since 1998.
Walk of the field as champions, that is.
“It’s a great feeling,” Weinreich said. I wouldn’t want it any other way.”