One of the better football teams to come out of Paso Robles High School in some time, has advance to California’s South Division Championship bowl game against El Capitan Vaqueros of Lakeside in San Diego County.
Although wine dominates our region now, sports has always been a mainstay in the North County and the Paso Robles Bearcats have been a very good team almost forever.
I’ve not talked about sports here because I wrote so much outside of Paso Wine Barrels’ blog. I freelanced for a handful of years and was a writer for Yahoo Sports!, becoming one of their top writers worldwide. However, the barrel business soon overrode my time and combined with many changes at Yahoo!, my sports writing diminished.
So occasionally, I might throw some sports related stuff in here, but not to worry, it will be sporadic at best. Just enough to keep you informed of what’s going on here on the Central Coast sports-wise.
Top 20 ranking
As far as the the football squad, they won the Northern Division of the Southern Section in the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) – CIF governs all 1,500 high schools regarding sports in the Golden State. Sounds like a lot of schools, huh. You have to remember there are roughly 40 million people living in California. By the way, Paso Robles is currently ranked 18th in the state.
Anyway, the Bearcats rolled to a 13-1 record with their only loss to league rival Atascadero Greyhounds at the end of the regular season. Atascadero also had an excellent team this year and most years for that matter. The PAC 5 League that Paso and A-town are part of, is a powerhouse and ended with a tri-championship between the two aforementioned schools along with Arroyo Grande. All three made it to the division semifinals – the PAC 5 was that good.
Paso Robles defeated a very strong and high-scoring machine of a team in the Newbury Park Panthers from Ventura County. The Northern Division Championship game was played on a muddy field due to rains that have been steadily on and off here on our parched and drought-stricken land for the last few weeks. Yes, good news, and something I’ll talk about in a later blog. In any case, the final score was a tight 13-10 slugfest with the Bearcats often using a stacked I formation – an obvious running style that dared the Panthers to stop the run.
Superstar leading the way
The star was Bailey Gaither who ran for an impressive 180 yards even though he’s the team leading wide receiver. An extremely talented player who does everything better than anyone, he ran from the tailback position and helped win the game. As a note, Gaither was the county’s player of the year in baseball last spring. He will most likely be the player of the year in football for San Luis Obispo County as well.
It was estimated that 5,000 fans were packed into War Memorial Stadium in less than ideal weather conditions. The game with El Capitan will be in San Diego so Paso Robles will have a six hour bus ride south to play the 13-0 Vaqueros.
This is the first time a team from the Central Coast has participated in the state bowl program – and it has made the town proud. If the Bearcats win, they will play in the state championship against the North Division champion (between 14-0 Campolindo and 13-0 Sutter).
There you have it, Paso Robles may have been this past seasons wine region of the year, but we also have a great football squad. Go Bearcats!
Daryle W. Hier