Paso Robles 6-1 to start season

PASO ROBLES — After pilling up 34 wins in boys soccer the two previous years, Paso Robles High School experienced its first down year under head coach Omar McPherson (104-68-30 in eight years) in 2018-19. The Bearcats look to have put that season behind them and have come out red hot this season.

Paso Robles is 6-1 through their first two weeks. 

Last season, the Bearcats fought injuries and finished 9-13-4, tied for last in the Mountain League. It was also the first sub-10-win season under McPherson. 

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Jorge Sandoval (17), Aristides Sanchez (22) and Owen Grandoli (5) form a wall to protect the goal during a penalty kick. (Photos by Connor Allen)

The turnaround is due in part to their depth and the success of their junior varsity team. 

“Last year was one of those one-off seasons, we had a lot of injuries last year,” McPherson said over the weekend. “And they started to get into it at the end of the season, but it was too late. This year, and also last year, we have a very strong JV team and they, with the guys that were left from last year, and the JV team coming up, we think we have a strong and decent team. If we continue on the same track, the expectations are high for this team.”

Offensively, the Bearcats lost their leading scorer from a year ago in Carlos Perales (seven goals) but returned Alfredo Moreno and Jorge Sandoval, who finished second and third in scoring last season with six and five goals, respectively. 

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Paso Robles senior Aristides Sanchez races a Lemoore defender to the ball during the Bearcats 4-2 win on Friday. 

All together, Paso Robles returns ten players from last year’s team, including team captain Daniel Almaguer.

So far, the Bearcats have been dominating teams in all areas, outscoring their opponents 31-8. Paso Robles has owned the second half of games. Of the 31 goals the Bearcats have scored, 21 of them have come after halftime. 

“We are a very rounded team,” McPherson said. “I would put it that way. All men on deck mentality and next man up. They play hard for each other and if they continue to do that, I don’t think we are going to have any problems, but that is why we play the game.”

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Sophomore Adan Sandoval celebrates after scoring from 25-yards out against Lemoore High School.

Paso Robles opened the season with six straight victories over Santa Ynez, Templeton, Nipomo, Frontier, Mission Prep and Lemoore before dropping the semifinal game at the ‘Cats & Hounds tournament on Saturday to the Santa Barbara Dons who went on to be the eventual champions. 

The Bearcats distribute the ball to everyone, making it hard for opposing teams to slow them down.

“All my players are impact players,” McPherson said. “We have a well-rounded team if you concentrate on one, the other guys are going to kill you, so it’s really up to the other team.”

Paso Robles will be at home for its next game on Wednesday night when they welcome the Lompoc Braves to War Memorial Stadium.