Losing the PAC 5’s leading rusher would be a nightmare blow most teams couldn’t recover from.
Not for Paso Robles on Friday night.
Elijah Palomino rushed 33 times for 268 yards and four touchdowns in the Bearcats' 38-6 win over San Luis Obispo, and Robert Mares had two carries for 100 yards filling in for running back Christian Erickson, who did not dress.
Paso Robles amassed 454 out of its 496 total yards on the ground.
“Shoot, I didn’t really know what we were going to do after going scoreless last week (against Arroyo Grande) and then missing our number one QB and running back,” coach Rich Schimke said.
The 5-foot-9, 175-pound Palomino ran through tackles and also bounced runs outside, with a touchdown run of 25 yards and a long of 67 yards.
Palomino practices on the scout squad and has the duty of imitating the running back that the defense will be playing against in the upcoming game.
“He was our scout team player of the week, Schimke said, “He gets beat up a little bit in practice, being the target and so he got to reap the fruits of his labor tonight.”
Palomino realized Wednesday that Erickson wouldn’t play.
“(Erickson) said ‘I’m not playing this game’, Palomino said, “And I was like ‘oh I’m gonna start.’ I got so excited and I just started grinding out more and more. It was just awesome.”
Palomino got valuable playing time earlier this year in the second half of Paso Robles’ win against Morro Bay.
“It definitely gave me an experience of what to expect coming up to varsity second string,” Palomino said, “And I got my time to play, I just did the best I could.”
Paso Robles (4-4, 1-1 PAC 5) had 10 players who didn’t dress in Friday’s game, and look forward to next week’s bye.
“This bye week comes at a great time for us, we need to get our guys back healthy and hopefully we’ll be at full strength against Righetti in two weeks,” Schimke said.
Wyatt Gidcumb filled in for Justin Davis, who was out with a shoulder injury at quarterback, going 4-for-9 passing for 42 yards and adding a rushing touchdown.
San Luis Obispo didn’t have the same success running the ball as they had in weeks past, with only 80 yards coming on the ground.
Quarterback Omeed Djassemi had 22 of those yards and threw for 118 more and one interception.
Vincente Rivas had 62 yards receiving and also threw an interception on a fake jet sweep for the Tigers (2-6, 0-2).
Zennon Cano had 11 tackles and Geovoni Gabriele added 10 more, both at linebacker for San Luis Obispo.