When Righetti had the ball with 1:20 left in the game trailing by seven, the Warriors needed to go 75 yards for a chance to tie the game.
The problem for Righetti: Atascadero’s Lucas Sprouse was lurking on the artificial turf of Righetti Warrior Stadium looking to tie a family record.
On third down, with under a minute to go, Chase Artopoeus heaved the ball high into the moist night and Sprouse camped out underneath. It should have been his easiest catch of the night.
The junior defensive back already had two interceptions before the pass, both coming in the third quarter. The first pick was a leaping one-handed catch in Atascadero territory mid-way through the quarter.
“I wasn’t ready, and then I realized they were passing,” Sprouse said of the first interception, “and it just came to me, really. There wasn’t much to it.”
Here's the first of Lucas Sprouse's 2 interceptions. pic.twitter.com/TWAhUrgknN— Travis Gibson (@TravisDgibson) October 17, 2015
The second interception was not as pretty, and was not viewed as an interception by many in the Righetti stands, but it was ruled a catch on the field and stopped Righetti’s drive at the end of the third quarter.
The third interception, and a chance to get on par with his older brother, just wasn’t meant to be. Lucas’ brother Logan holds Atascadero’s single-game record for most interceptions with three. He didn't tie the record, but Lucas did bat the pass down and Righetti failed to convert on fourth down as the clock expired and Atascadero came away with a 14-7 win, the team's first win in league play this season.
“I wanted that third one,” Sprouse said after the game. “I didn’t realize until after the game when one of my teammates told me ‘you could have tied your brother’ and I was like ‘uggh.’ ”
Atascadero's Lucas Sprouse just misses 3rd INT of game. If caught, would have tied his brothers single game record. pic.twitter.com/vyZvp7xqjf— Travis Gibson (@TravisDgibson) October 17, 2015
Sprouse and the rest of the Atascadero defense was able to hold Righetti scoreless and limit the passing game to -2 yards in the second half.
It was needed. The Atascadero offense was held scoreless as well.
“In the second half they kind of took charge there,” Atascadero head coach Vic Cooper said. “We slowed down the running attack enough that they felt like they needed to pass and we came up with some big plays.”
“We mesh together well,” Sprouse, who now has three interceptions on the season, said of the defense. “We have good chemistry and we just know what each other are doing.”
Through seven games, Atascadero (6-1, 1-0 PAC 5) has given up just over 16 points per game.
“We’re gonna take it,” Cooper said. “We’re 1-0 in the PAC 5 and it doesn’t matter if it’s 14-7 or 35-7.”