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By Jayson Mellom
BY MITCHELL CARROLL San Luis Obispo Tribune
Garces High won in a shocker Saturday night, defeating San Luis Obispo 21-20 with three fourth-quarter touchdowns, including a go-ahead, 4-yard touchdown pass from Rams quarterback Cruise Adams with 1:13 remaining in the season opener for both teams.
San Luis Obispo built a 20-0 lead behind quarterback Garrett Giovannelli, who ran for a 68-yard touchdown just before halftime and threw for another early in the third quarter.
Garces 21, San Luis Obispo 20
Garces 0 0 0 21 -- 21San Luis Obispo 0 7 13 0 -- 20
SLO -- Giovannelli 68 run (Spratt kick) 0:28
SLO -- Stewart 11 pass from Giovannelli (Spratt kick) 9:56
SLO -- Humphrey 4 run (kick failed) 1:34
G -- Sweaney 36 pass from Adams (Sakowski kick) 10:58
G -- Sweaney 29 pass from Adams (Sakowski kick) 5:29
G -- Anspach 4 pass from Adams (Sakowski kick)
RUSHING -- Garces: Stewart 5-16, Adams 8-21, Hunter Barnes 6-28, Sheldon Croney Jr. 3-22, Angus Bellue 1-11; San Luis Obispo: Sawyer Scott 8-32, Cole Bradley 6-15, Giovannelli 8-112, Nate Greenelsh 8-54, Riley Humphrey 7-25.
PASSING -- Garces: Adams 23-40-1 344; San Luis Obispo: Giovannelli 3-10-1 38.
RECEIVING -- Garces: Sweaney 5-135, Croney Jr. 6-81, Bellue 4-36, Jack Lundy 4-70, Dominic Frasch 2-7, Konrad Kuntz 1-15, Anspach 1-4; San Luis Obispo: Jordan Knauer 1-10, Stewart 2-28.
After Riley Humphrey's 4-yard touchdown run at the end of the third quarter gave them their largest lead of the game at 20-0, things started to unravel quickly for the Tigers.
"We thought we had that game," San Luis Obispo defensive end Jack Ferguson said.
The Rams struggled to find consistency in the first three quarters, but early in the fourth, Adams began to find a groove, hooking up with Jacob Sweaney on a 36-yard touchdown pass to put the Rams on the board for the first time.
Five minutes later, one play after a San Luis Obispo pass interference call on a third-down incompletion, Adams again found Sweaney again for a score, this time on a wide-open 29-yard pass that brought Garces within six.
After forcing a Tigers punt with just over four minutes remaining, the Rams converted on two third downs and on a fourth-and-10 from the San Luis Obispo 38 yard-line with 3:07 left on the clock. Two minutes later, Adams found Jack Anspauch on a play-action bootleg touchdown pass to give Garces its first lead of the game.
San Luis Obispo responded with a drive of its own, and, with the help of a 12-men-on-the-field penalty and a personal foul by the Rams, found itself with a first down on the Rams' 35-yard line with 41 seconds left.
Giovannelli was then intercepted by Garces defensive back Hunter Barnes, effectively ending the game and snuffing out any chance of a Tigers comeback.
"We played well, we stayed in there the whole game, had that lead -- we just couldn't finish," Giovannelli said. "We did things well on both sides of the ball, on special teams, and we won the possession battles and all that stuff. It was a really good game. It just didn't end how we wanted it too."
Giovannelli finished 3-for-10 passing for 38 yards and a touchdown while running for 112 yards and a touchdown on eight carries.
Ferguson had two sacks and two tipped passes, including one on a fourth-and-10 from the Tigers' 39-yard line with just under a minute left in the second quarter.
Adams was 23 for 40 for 344 yards, three touchdowns and an interception for the Rams. Sweaney led Garces with five catches for 135 yards and two touchdowns.