High School Sports

Tough football loss for San Luis Obispo in opener

San Luis Obispo High’s Jack Ferguson (55) dives for yardage during the third quarter of the Tigers’ loss to Garces on Saturday.
San Luis Obispo High’s Jack Ferguson (55) dives for yardage during the third quarter of the Tigers’ loss to Garces on Saturday. jmellom@thetribunenews.com

The San Luis Obispo High football team lost a heartbreaker Saturday night, falling 21-20 to Garces after yielding three fourth-quarter touchdowns, including a go-ahead, 4-yard touchdown pass from Rams quarterback Cruise Adams with 1:13 remaining in the season opener for both teams.

“We just came up on the short end today,” Tigers coach David Kelley said. “We played hard. Our kids are not afraid to compete. They’re a family and they played well together. We got a lot of things to work on but we played hard.”

San Luis Obispo built a 20-0 lead behind quarterback Garrett Giovannelli, who ran for a 68-yard touchdown just before halftime and threw for another early in the third quarter. After Riley Humphrey’s 4-yard touchdown run at the end of the third quarter gave them their largest lead of the game, things started to unravel quickly for the Tigers.

“We thought we had that game,” defensive end and reigning PAC 7 defensive MVP Jack Ferguson said. “We thought we kicked their asses all night, but games aren’t played in three quarters.”

The Rams had struggled to find consistency in the first three quarters, but early in the fourth Adams began to find a groove, hooking up with Jacob Sweaney on a 36-yard touchdown pass to put the Rams on the board for the first time.

Five minutes later, one play after a San Luis Obispo pass interference call on a third-down incompletion, Adams again found Sweaney for a score, this time on a wide-open 29-yard pass that brought Garces within six.

After forcing a Tigers punt with just over four minutes remaining, the Rams converted on two third downs and on a fourth-and-10 from the San Luis Obispo 38 yard-line with 3:07 left on the clock. Two minutes later, Adams found Jack Anspauch on a play-action bootleg touchdown pass to give Garces its first lead of the game.

San Luis Obispo responded with a drive of its own, and, with the help of a 12-men-on-the-field penalty and a personal foul by the Rams, found itself with a first down on the Rams’ 35-yard line with 41 seconds left.

Giovannelli was then intercepted by Garces defensive back Hunter Barnes, effectively ending the game and snuffing out any chance of a Tiger comeback.

“We played well, we stayed in there the whole game, had that lead — we just couldn’t finish,” Giovannelli said. “We did things well on both sides of the ball, on special teams, and we won the possession battles and all that stuff. It was a really good game. It just didn’t end how we wanted it too.”

Giovannelli finished 3-for-10 passing for 38 yards and a touchdown while running for 112 yards and a touchdown on eight carries.Ferguson had two sacks and two tipped passes, including one on a fourth-and-10 from the Tigers’ 39-yard line with just under a minute left in the second quarter.

Adams was 23 for 40 for 344 yards, three touchdowns and an interception for the Rams. Sweaney led Garces with five catches for 135 yards and two touchdowns.

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