ATASCADERO — Last time the Greyhounds and Bearcats met, they played the early game before the girls played under the lights at War Memorial Stadium. Friday, it was the boys’ turn to take center stage as the warm tones in the winter sky faded into darkness and were replaced by the beaming lights of the Atascadero High School field.
The Bearcats started the season as one of the top-ranked teams in the division and rolled through an almost perfect run through the first half of PAC 8 play. After starting the season on fire, the Bearcats lost three straight games and now find themselves in fourth place in league, fighting for a playoff berth at 7-4-1.
Atascadero (2-10) is already out of the playoff hunt, but came into the game knowing that nothing sweetens a losing season more than knocking your rival out in the process.
The last meeting between these two teams needed an extra 20 minutes to determine a victor and Friday’s game also needed overtime. The two teams played a tight, scoreless first half. Each team took turns dominating the possession. Paso’s Aiden Kerr had the first real scoring opportunity for either team shooting from the left side of the goal, but Atascadero goalie Axel Degante sent it away.
Atascadero’s first chance came via a free kick by junior defender Lindley Brown after a foul was called right in front of the Greyhound bench. Brown’s pass floated toward the 18-yard box and senior midfielder Scott Mello headed it toward the goal, forcing Paso’s captain, Victor Rodriguez, to make a great save.
The Bearcats broke the scoring drought in the second half on an Erick Reyes goal assisted by Kerr. The Greyhounds then responded with a goal of their own by Nic Rangel.
Just as in the last game, the Bearcats scored in the first half of overtime, but this time it came on a corner kick from Logan Burns. As he has all season, Reyes came darting out of the air to nail the header into the back of the net to send the Bearcats home with a second 2-1 overtime victory over the Hounds.
“It went just the way you’d expect a Paso vs Atascadero game to go.” Atascadero Head Coach JT Camp said, “All the players played their hearts out, it was tight both ways, and I honestly couldn’t be happier with the way our guys played.”
With the win, the Bearcats now have a very important game Tuesday night against Righetti. The Warriors currently hold third place in PAC 8 and with a win the Bearcats could retake a position in the top three.
The Hounds will host Pioneer Valley Tuesday night for senior night before playing their final game on the road against AG.