Paso Robles holds a record of 4-2 after a victory over Santa Maria

The Paso Robles Bearcats hosted their final home game of the 2021 spring season on Friday night and cruised to a 49-7 victory over a depleted Santa Maria team that entered the game with fewer than 20 overall players. The victory on Friday night makes three consecutive wins for the Bearcats team that now holds a record of 4-2 with just one game left on the season, the rivalry game against the Atascadero Greyhounds.

The rivalry started back in 1919, making this season the 101st year of the rivalry. The teams have played each other every season since, with the only exceptions from World War II and nearly the COVID-19 pandemic. The two teams have played for division titles, pride, playoff berths, and even a CIF championship once.

With no playoffs on the horizon and both teams already finished with their league schedule in the special spring season, the upcoming game counts for one thing only, North County bragging rights.

Getting through this together, Atascadero

While the Greyhounds will enter the game on Friday still in search of their first win, and nothing would make those in orange and grey happier than ending the season with a win over the Bearcats, Paso Robles seems to have hit their stride during their winning streak and will enter the game on Friday night riding a tidal wave of confidence.

Last Friday, the Bearcats put together their most complete performance of the season, dominating Santa Maria from the first whistle to the final one, and even finding time to play some guys who have spent the season waiting for their shot under the bright lights.

Paso Robles received the opening kickoff and immediately began grinding out yards on the ground, controlling the clock and the tempo. The Bearcats took their first drive 68-yards in five plays and capped it off with a touchdown from sophomore running back Leo Kemp. The Saints followed up the Paso Robles score with a three-and-out and punt that gave the Bearcats the ball on their own 11-yard line.

Just as they did against Templeton last week, the Bearcats worked the ball methodically down the field through a multitude of running plays that accentuate the hard-running style of their two big running backs in Kemp and Jake Morones. While Kemp and Morones have received much of the praise this season, the Bearcats offensive line has been the most impressive, and they continued their fantastic season on Friday.

After starting on their own 11-yard line, Paso Robles put together a 14-play 89-yard drive that sucked a little more life out of the Saints with each first down gained. Junior running back Coleton Sullivan entered the game as running back and powered his way into the endzone giving the Bearcats a 14-0 lead.

On the Bearcat’s next possession, they got another new face involved in the backfield in junior Vicente Echevarria, who ran with just as much tenacity as starters. After a few carries, the line opened up a hole on the right side, and Echevarria sprang through it and turned on the jets for a 35-yard touchdown, and the rout was on at War Memorial Stadium.

There was a little bit of drama late in the second quarter, but the Bearcats quickly slammed the door shut. Santa Maria was finally able to get on the board thanks to some backyard football and a fortuitous bounce when a pass into the endzone hit two players before ending in the arms of a Saints receiver.

On the next possession, Paso Robles would fumble in the red zone, and the Saints would recover in the shadow of their own goal line. However, the Bearcat defense would not let the Saints stick around and forced a quick three-and-out.

Morones would jog into the endzone untouched on the next possession, and Paso Robles would go into halftime up 28-7 and would never look back. At 3-2, the Bearcats currently sit behind St. Joseph and Righetti, who handed Paso Robles their only two losses of the season in the Mountain League.

Friday’s matchup with the Greyhounds is scheduled for a 7 p.m. kickoff and can be streamed online or listened to on the radio.