San Luis Obispo (2-7, 0-3 PAC 5) at Arroyo Grande (8-1, 3-0 PAC 5)
Last week: Arroyo Grande 24, Atascadero 10; San Luis Obispo, BYE
The only thing standing in the way of Arroyo Grande’s undefeated PAC 5 season is a San Luis Obispo team that has struggled to find the endzone in its past three games. A struggling Tigers offense and a defense that has given up 38 and 46 points in its past two games, respectively, is a bad combination against an Arroyo Grande team that has won eight games by an average margin of 33 points this season. Arroyo Grande has won its past six in a row, including last week’s road win against Atascadero.
Arroyo Grande quarterback Sawyer May, who is seventh in the Southern Section Northern Division in passing, let a diverse rushing attack and a ball-hawking defense dispatch the 7-1 Greyhounds. May only passed for 19 yards in the game, but running back Bradley Mickey had 103 yards rushing, including a 41-yard touchdown.
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Arroyo Grande’s defense has surrendered just 10 points total in its past four games. Three second-half interceptions by the Eagles defense helped secure a win against Atascadero.
With a win against San Luis Obispo, Arroyo Grande would likely lock down the second overall seed in the CIF-Southern Section Northern Division playoffs.
Atascadero (7-2, 2-1 PAC 5) at Paso Robles (5-4, 2-1 PAC 5)
Last week: Arroyo Grande 24, Atascadero 10; Paso Robles 30, Righetti 0
This game will be about much more than who will finish in second place in the PAC 5 — there are major playoff implications and a good old-fashioned rivalry at stake, too. The matchup will feature two of the best running backs in the area; Atascadero’s Marc Martin, the PAC 5’s leading scorer, and Christian Erickson, the PAC 5’s leading rusher. Martin, who is third in yards in the Northern Division with 972, carried the ball 31 times for 131 yards in the loss to Arroyo Grande and is averaging over 100 yards per game.
Erickson tops the Northern Divison by more than 200 yards with 1,347 yards on the season, even though he missed the Bearcats game against San Luis Obispo. The interesting stat is that Erickson is 14th in touchdowns in the same division. Paso Robles will need to find a way to convert in the red zone against a good Atascadero defensive line.
Although the game pits two of the best running backs in the area against each other, the game will likey come down to quarterback play. Atascadero quarterback Carson Rinkenberger had a solid first half against Arroyo Grande last week. He was 7 for 10 for 71 yards as the Greyhounds offense put together a good mix of run and pass and scored a touchdown against the Eagles, something no other PAC 5 team has done this season. But things fell apart for Rinkenberger in the second half and he threw three interceptions as Atascadero tried to mount a comeback. Team-leading receiver Tysen Delkner had four catches for 48 yards.
Paso Robles coach Rich Schimke didn’t push things with quarterback Justin Davis last week, who was 6 for 10 for 77 yards in a one-touchdown and one-interception performance. Davis suffered a shoulder injury in a loss to Arroyo Grande earlier in the season and was not 100 percent healthy, but heading into this week, Davis said he is ready to go. Davis will look to get the ball to speedy wide out Steven Schouten, who had three catches for 32 yards against Righetti.
Morro Bay (0-9, 0-3 Northern) at Mission Prep (7-2, 3-0 Northern)
Last week: Mission Prep 30, Santa Maria 10; Morro Bay, BYE
If Mission Prep can beat winless Morro Bay, it would secure a Northern League title and become the first undefeated Northern League champion in the short, two-year history of the league.
Mission Prep has shown to be a complete team on both sides of the ball for most of the season. On offense, quarterback Bryce Fledderman can beat you with his arm while running back Brayden Corona does it with his legs. Fledderman is fourth in the 31-team Southern Section Northwest Divsion in passing yards with 1,779. The junior passer threw for 242 yards and four touchdowns in the win over Santa Maria. Corona rushed for 111 yards and a touchdown aginst the Saints, his fifth 100-yard rushing game of the season.
On defense, a pair of pass rushing defensive ends will aim to give Morro Bay quarterback Isaac Manuputy fits. Conrad Ochotorena has racked up six sacks and 13 tackles for loss on the season, while on the other side, Jacob Wright leads the team with seven sacks and 18 tackles for loss.
Heading into the game, Mission Prep is projected to be the No. 4 seed in the CIF playoffs.
Santa Maria (2-7, 1-2 Northern) at Templeton (5-4, 1-2 Northern)
Last week: Mission Prep 30, Santa Maria 10; Nipomo 29, Templeton 19
Templeton has lost four of its past five after the devastating injury to Isaac Lindsey, but thanks to success early in the season, the Eagles still have a chance to sneak into the bottom half of the bracket with a win over Santa Maria on Friday night. Templeton is currently projected to finish in the Top 16 teams in the Southern Section Northwest Division.
Templeton will need to revive its running game, which has struggled during league play. Leading rusher Michael Capelli has gained just 96 yards in the past three games, including a 15-yard performance against Nipomo, and has failed to find the endzone since the Eagles fourth game of the season.
The passing game, led by quarterback Jordan Bernal and receiver Matteo D’Alfonso, has been working well. Bernal threw for 296 yards on 21 of 30 passing for two touchdowns and no interceptions against Nipomo. Bernal has not thrown an interception in league play. He also rushed nine times for 64 yards and a touchdown. D’Alfonso had his best game of the season last week. The 6-foot-4 senior caught 11 balls for 177 yards and two touchdowns, giving him seven touchdowns for the season.
Top 10 prep football rankings
1. Arroyo Grande (8-1, 3-0 PAC 5)
2. Lompoc (8-1, 3-0 LPL)
3. Atascadero (7-2, 2-1 PAC 5)
4. St. Joseph (7-2, 2-1 LPL)
5. Mission Prep (7-2, 3-0 Northern)
6. Santa Ynez (7-2, 1-2 LPL)
7. Paso Robles (5-4, 2-1 PAC 5)
8. Nipomo (5-5, 3-1 Northern)
9. Templeton (5-4, 1-2 Northern)
10. Righetti (2-7, 1-3 PAC 5)
Others receiving votes: Pioneer Valley (4-5, 2-2 LPL), 5
Voters this week: Travis Gibson (The Tribune), Scott Middlecamp (The Tribune), Mike Moreno (98.1 KKJG), Lucas Clark (The Tribune), Tom Sepulveda (The Tribune), Matt SantaMaria (KSBY), Mike Abram (ESPN 1280), Kenny Cress (Santa Maria Times)