The Atascadero High football team’s defense forced the Paso Robles offense into three turnovers in the first half Friday night and cruised to a 31-14 win in front of thousands on a chilly night at Flamson Middle School.
Lucas Sprouse and Zack Quigley each intercepted Paso Robles quarterback Justin Davis once, and Bearcats running back Christian Erickson was limited to just 78 yards rushing in the game.
Atascadero running back Marc Martin carried the ball 21 times for 116 and scored twice.
Game Changing Play: Trailing 10-0 in the second quarter, Paso Robles decided to try its luck on a fourth-and-3 in Atascadero territory. But Steven Schouten fumbled after getting a hand off and Zack Quigley picked up the ball and returned it 75 yards for the score to put Atascadero up 17-0. The Greyhounds added another score to make it 24-0 at halftime.
Martin Scores Again: In a battle between the top running backs in the PAC 5, Martin out dueled Erickson. Martin scored two touchdowns in the game, giving him 14 total for the season. Erickson didn’t break the 100-yard mark for only the second time all season. Martin also had 2 catches for 40 yards.
Revolving QBs: Atascadero coach Vic Cooper rotated quarterbacks to perfection Friday night. Carson Rinkenberger got most of the snaps, but backup Elijah Cooks came in on the second drive of the game to lead the Greyhounds offense on a long scoring drive. Rinkenberger also threw a perfect 4-yard touchdown pass to Cooks in the corner of the endzone with eight seconds to go until halftime. Rinkenberger finished a perfect 5 for 5 for 63 yards and didn’t need to throw a pass in the second half. Cooks completed one 30-yard pass of his own to Martin and rushed twice for a total of 18 yards to go along with his touchdown catch.
What’s Next: Now they wait. With Arroyo Grande defeating San Luis Obispo to win the PAC 5 outright, Atascadero (8-2, 3-1 PAC 5) finishes in second place. Both Atascadero and Paso Robles (5-5, 2-2 PAC 5) should have spots in the playoffs when the brackets are released by the CIF-Southern Section on Sunday.