Marking its second consecutive victory to counter two heartbreaing losses to start the season, San Luis Obispo High’s quarterback summed up Friday’s victory against Morro Bay by saying “now we know what winning feels like again.”
The Tigers downed the Pirates 35-14.
Quarterback Garrett Giovannelli led the Tigers with 142 yards rushing and two touchdowns, including a 91-yard breakaway dash using an option fake at 3:53 in the second quarter that put the Tigers ahead 21-7.
Besides Giovannelli’s long touchdown run, running back Riley Humphrey also blew past the Pirates in the second quarter with a 74-yard touchdown run at the 10:31 mark.
For most of the game, the Tigers kept pushing Morro Bay back with long runs in key situations and deflated the Pirates’ chances of keeping the game close.
“Everyone contributed and I feel like this gives us a lot of momentum going into league play,” said Giovannelli, who sat out last week’s game against Oxnard with a calf strain. “My calf felt good. We played well. We controlled the line of scrimmage I thought.”
But the game started out promising for the home team as Morro Bay coach Jack Greer told his players to throw the first blow before the game. They responded by forcing an early fumble that they recovered at 10:23 in the first quarter. And Morro Bay struck first with a 2-yard touchdown by running back Derek Viles at 7:32 in the opening quarter.
But Greer said that the power of the San Luis Obispo’s offensive line was effective and missed tackle opportunities hindered his team for the rest of the game.
Third-down conversions also were few and far between for Morro Bay, whose players showed frustration by committing two personal fouls and tallied 80 yards in penalties.
“We also really could have benefited from recovering some fumbles early in the game,” Greer said. “Instead, Giovannelli picked one up and ran for something like 15 yards. But we did some nice things in the game. I think we’re just a smaller team and we got beat up front offensively and had a difficult time getting first downs.”
With the game still in reach in the third quarter, San Luis Obispo’s Nate Greenelsh took control and ran for two long touchdowns within minutes of each other — a 31-yard run at the 9:56 mark and a 24-yard run at 6:26 — to put the game out of reach.
“I’m really proud of our guys,” San Luis Obispo coach David Kelley said. “I thought they played really hard and had a great effort.”
Despite all the positives, Giovannelli said the Tigers will need to keep working on cleaning up penalties after being flagged for 75 yards in penalties.
“That’s something we’ll work on, being more disciplined and cutting down on penalties,” he said.
Morro Bay quarterback Jordan Bray ran for 58 yards and the Pirates’ final touchdown in the fourth quarter.