The Righetti Warriors opened the PAC 5 League football season with a dominant win Friday night at San Luis Obispo’s Hart Field.
The Warriors (3-3, 1-0 PAC 5) put a damper on the San Luis Obispo Tigers' (1-5, 0-1) homecoming weekend with a 27-7 victory.
The biggest obstacle to the Warriors’ win was the Warriors themselves. Righetti’s offense was whistled for seven false start penalties in the half and four more in the second.
“I think we were a little rusty coming off our bye week,” said Righetti head coach Ed Herrmann. “I think our timing was off a little bit but you’ve got to give credit to our guys – they found a way to overcome the penalties.”
The Tigers weren’t immune to the penalty bug.
They were called for an illegal block in the back on the game’s first play. SLO was also hit with two holding penalties, two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties and one facemask penalty.
Running back Damien Robles carried the heaviest workload for Righetti. Robles had 20 carries for 145 yards and two touchdowns.
His second touchdown was a perfect example of how much Robles and his teammates wanted this win.
The Warriors were leading 13-0 midway through the third quarter and had a third-and-three at the SLO 9 yard line.
Righetti quarterback Brandon Giddings gave the ball to Robles who drove into a pile of players off right tackle. It looked like Robles pushed the pile to about the 3-yard line but he never went down. Never.
He popped through the mass of players and into the end zone and a 20-0 lead.
Derek Imel shared the spotlight with Robles, gaining 47 yards on nine carries. Eddie Perez added another 34 on five rushing attempts.
The Warriors kept the ball on the ground but when they had to throw, Giddings was an efficient 5-for-10 for 65 yards and one touchdown – the game’s first touchdown.
Righetti forced San Luis Obispo to punt on the game’s opening drive.
Jalen Davis set the Warriors up at SLO’s 48 after a nice punt return.
From there, coach Herrmann rotated Robles, Imel and Perez through 10 straight running plays, then with the defense looking for the run, called for a pass.
Giddings rolled to his right and found a tightly covered Perez who caught the pass for a 9-yard touchdown. The extra point was block but the Warriors had a 6-0 lead at the 6:16 mark of the first quarter.
“I was looking for the back that had the hot hand and tonight it was Damien,” said Herrmann. “And you have to give a lot of credit to our offense line. They did a great job of blocking, opening holes tonight.”
After forcing another punt, the Warriors mounted their second 11-play scoring drive.
The big play was a 16-yard Robles run.
The Warriors scored when Giddings called his own number, rolled to his left and dove for the corner of the end zone, just clearing the pylon.
This time Isaiah Urbano’s kick was good and Righetti led 13-0 with 10:43 left in the half.
By the time Robles scored midway through the third quarter to put Righetti up 21-0, the Warriors were in complete control.
Robles scored again on Righetti’s next possession for a 27-0 lead as the third quarter was nearing its end.
“Brandon did a good job running our offense tonight,” said Herrmann. “And our defense kept them off the scoreboard. Caleb Thomas had some key tackles in their backfield and Austin Dasis had that big fumble recovery when San Luis Obispo fumbled that kickoff late in the game, and that goal-line stand was huge.”
The Tigers were trailing 13-0 late in the first half and knocking on the door.
They had a fourth-and-inches at the Righetti one. The Tigers could have gotten a first down without scoring but they were only a yard from pay dirt.
“The defense just piled on their quarterback. He had nowhere to go,” said Herrmann.
The Righetti defense actually drove Corona back five yards and the ball went over to the Warriors on downs.
The Tigers did get into the end zone late in the game when quarterback Emilio Corona scored on a 25-yard run with 2:28 left in the game.
But the defense never let SLO’s star running back, Pierson Mosichuik, get untracked, holding him to 43 yards on 19 carries.
“Our offensive coached put together a good game plan tonight,” said Herrmann. “It’s great to win any game but especially a PAC 5 League game. It makes for a happier ride home.”
Righetti hosts Atascadero next Friday night.