Arroyo Grande High showed a semblance of last year’s CIF-Southern Section Western Division title football team in a dominating 34-14 win Friday over Templeton on its home turf.
The battle for the best team named the Eagles started off in a deadlock with both teams unable to score in the first quarter.
But after an early second quarter 4-yard touchdown run by Arroyo Grande running back Michael Jordano, the home team took advantage of costly mistakes by Templeton (2-1).
Those included an interception about the 10-minute mark in the quarter by Zach Diaz deep in Templeton’s territory that led to a quick TD score.
Before halftime, after a 14-yard touchdown pass from Arroyo Grande quarterback Matt Willkomm to Grant Alton, who held on to the ball in tight quarters, the South County team went up 20-0 and the comeback looked ominous for Templeton.
Controlling the game the rest of the way, Arroyo Grande (2-1) was led by Willkomm, who passed for 97 yards and rushed for 60 yards, making no mistakes along the way.
“I thought Matt’s ability to pull the ball down and scramble for nice gains helped us today,” Arroyo Grande coach Tom Goossen said. “He made good decisions.”
For Templeton, the rushing game seemed promising, particularly after an early first quarter 42-yard gain by running back Christian Hauser seemed to put Arroyo Grande on its heels.
But Templeton couldn’t capitalize on big gains, including a second 42-yard run by Conner Truhitte in the second half. Truhitte was able to score on a 25-yard scamper to get Templeton on the scoreboard in the fourth and finished with 122 yards on the night.
Templeton quarterback Alex Elterman finished with 89 yards passing.
But the inability to complete several third and fourth downs for gains to keep drives alive hurt Templeton.
“I take full responsibility for not getting our kids ready to play this team tonight,” Templeton coach Dan Loney said. “A.G. is a really well-coached, tough team and I didn’t get it done on the practice field.”
But Goossen credited Loney for a solid gameplan, including early blitzes that stifled Arroyo Grande’s offense initially.
“Templeton created a lot of problems for us early,” Goossen said. “They were aggressive defensively and they gave us some things to deal with.”
Willkomm credited his offensive line for giving him solid protection up front throughout the game.
“We made some errors tonight, but we worked through them and the line was great,” Willkomm said. “It was a good team effort.”