The Lompoc football team suffered one loss in 2014.
That loss came at the hands of Arroyo Grande in the CIF Southern Section Division 3 quarterfinals at Arroyo Grande’s Doug Hitchen Stadium.
The Eagles spotted the top-ranked Braves a 44-yard Javier De La Cueva field goal in the first quarter then controlled things against the badly undermanned Braves the rest of the way and came away with a 28-3 win.
Area athletes have been pulling in scholarship offers to continue their football careers at the next level.
Jordan Harrigan burst through a hole on the left side and scored from 50 yards out at the 5:54 mark of the second quarter for the first Eagles score. The home team rolled from there.
Arroyo Grande controlled things up front, so the Eagles controlled the balance of the game.
Not only did the Eagles throttle the Braves’ vaunted ground game, they out-gained the Braves 285-62 on the ground.
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“Our offensive line does an awesome job every single week,” said Harrigan, who ran for 100 yards on just six carries. “I couldn’t gain a yard without our offensive line.”
Arroyo Grande had four rushing touchdowns in the Eagles’ first win over the Braves since 2011 in this rivalry between two of the premier programs on the Central Coast.
Harrigan’s 22-yard scoring run in the third quarter was sandwiched around Joey De La Rosa’s 9-yard touchdown run in the second quarter and Alex Cecchi’s three-yard touchdown run in the fourth.
Arroyo Grande defeated Lompoc 28-3 Friday night and will play Paso Robles this Friday night in the CIFSS Northern Division semifinals at Doug …
Lompoc’s rushing attack had averaged well over 300 yards a game going into the playoffs. However, the Braves’ ground game never really recovered after play-making quarterback Terry Sims suffered a broken collarbone on the third play of Lompoc’s 38-28 home win over Camarillo in the first round.
Sims’ injury made it seven Lompoc starters down for the season at one time or another because of injury.
“Not to use that as an excuse, but not only did we have to move so much around with the injuries, but it put such a load on guys like (team rushing leader and defensive back) Derrick Portis having to play so much,” said Lompoc coach Andrew Jones.
“Arroyo Grande was just the better team tonight, though. They kicked our butt up front.”
The Eagles defense did have one shutout, in a 7-0 win at Ojai Nordhoff in the first round.
Even so, “I thought this was our defense’s best game because Lompoc is so highly-ranked,” said Arroyo Grande senior defensive tackle Evan Danell.
Danell and fellow lineman Cole Cunningham led the surge as the Eagles bottled up the Braves’ rushing game.
Gaither is the 14th finalist for the Times' Player of the Decade award. He caught 167 passes for 3,277 yards in 36 varsity games with the Bearcats. He hauled in 41 touchdowns. The Bearcats won a CIF title in his senior season in 2014.
“I don’t remember seeing a time when a Lompoc running game was stopped like that,” said Arroyo Grande coach Tom Goossen.
“Our four guys up front on defense rotate in there, and I thought all of them did a good job of giving our linebackers lanes to make plays.”
After Sims went down, Joseph Osegueda, a regular at defensive back, saved the Braves by throwing for 301 yards and three touchdowns against Camarillo.
Against Arroyo Grande, he was 14-for-26 for 173 yards. Cecchi intercepted him twice. The Braves dropped three passes.
Lompoc defeated Arroyo Grande 20-13 to start that 2014 season. Arroyo Grande would go on to lose to Paso Robles 28-21 in the CIF semifinals on a last-minute Bailey Gaither catch-and-run touchdown. Paso Robles defeated Newbury Park for the CIF title that year. Paso Robles finished 13-2 that season with a loss in the state playoffs ending its season.
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