It was a season of firsts for Arroyo Grande High School. After 26 years, the Eagles won their first Northern League title. Saturday at Burbank Burroughs High, they won their first Northwestern Conference championship.
Arroyo Grande defeated Burroughs, 15-10, in a wind-swept game before a crowd of 8,000.
"I've never given myself the opportunity to think about our first championship," Arroyo Grande Coach Jon Huss said. "I didn't want it to distract from the game. It feels pretty great right now."
Matt Drake's five-yard run with 1:07 left in the third quarter gave the Eagles a 15-2 lead. Arroyo Grande's defense then held off Burroughs' attempts to rally.
Burroughs quarterback Jeff Barrett, who drove his team 58 yards against the wind for a touchdown to bring Burroughs within five points, fumbled with 2:13 left in the game on the Eagle 35-yard line. Arroyo Grande's Mike Avila recovered the loose ball, and the Eagles ran out the clock. Charlie Collins sacked Barrett to caused the fumble.
Jeff Heath led the Eagles with 10 tackles, and Avila had 6.
"Our defense played great," Huss said. "It proved to be a defensive game, with a lot of mistakes on both sides of the field."
The wind, which gusted to 40 m.p.h., hurt both pass-oriented offenses.
Arroyo Grande's Jamie Martin, who passed for 2,240 yards this season, completed only 1 attempt for 18 yards. Barrett, Burroughs' career passing leader, was 8 of 18 for 61 yards.
Barrett, who passed for 19 touchdowns this season, hit Kevin Strasser for a 17-yard score for Burroughs' only touchdown.
"The wind hampered the passing game a lot," Huss said. "The weather and field conditions made for less-than-championship conditions."
Arroyo Grande (11-2-1) instead turned to Drake, who ran for 96 yards in 23 carries and 2 touchdowns. Arroyo Grande led, 8-2, at halftime on the strength of Drake's 22-yard touchdown run on its first possession of the game.
The 5-foot 11-inch, 195-pound Drake lunged off right tackle, stutter-stepped and went around the right side for the score with eight minutes left in the first quarter. Then holder David Stone ran into the right corner of the end zone for a two-point conversion and an 8-0 lead.
Burroughs (12-2) drove 65 yards to the Eagle one, but on first and goal, Barrett fumbled the snap, and it was recovered by Collins.
However, Arroyo Grande couldn't move the ball and was forced to punt from the two. The snap from center Jay Wells was high to punter Shawn Brown. Brown leaped for the errant snap and landed with his heels out of the end zone for a safety.
The wind proved more of a problem for the Indians, as Barrett completed 2 of 8 attempts for 20 yards and was intercepted once. The Eagles chose not to battle the breeze. Martin threw just three times for one completion and an interception in the half.
Burroughs running back Wes Bender gained 94 yards in 20 carries, accounting for nearly half of the Indians' 194 total yards.
The game ended in a brawl between the teams, coaches and several fans that took 10 minutes to control.