Nov 20, 2012 12:46 PM by Bill Halter
18 days ago the Atascadero football team thought its season was over and so the Greyhounds are a happy bunch preparing for Friday's Northern Division semifinal game against West Torrance. A 16-14 loss to Paso Robles in Atascadero's final regular season game dropped the Greyhounds record to 4-6. The coaches and players didn't expect a playoff berth, "I said my good byes to all my seniors and we had our post game talk about being a family and how Greyhound football will always be there for you" said head coach Vic Cooper.
Two days later the Greyhounds found out that they got an at-large berth and would be one of five, Pac-7 teams advancing to the playoffs. Of those five teams, only Atascadero won its first round game. The 16th seeded Greyhounds handed top seeded Palmdale it's first loss of the season, winning 26-7. A week later Atascadero returned home for a 30-14 win against Canyon. Canyon beat San Luis Obispo 42-9 in the first round. During the regular season, San Luis Obispo beat Atascadero 31-14.
The team was revitalized by its second life and have been a different group since getting into the playoffs. "That Monday practice was probably the most energetic practice we've had all year" said Cooper.
"That last loss against Paso really broke everyone's heart and to have a second chance just really made us come together as a team" said senior running back Jonathan Torres who rushed for 129 yards and a score against Canyon.
Atascadero is in the CIF-Southern Section semifinals for the first time in 16 years, the Greyhounds will have to deal with an explosive offense on Friday. West Torrance averages 42 points per game but they give up an average of 27 points. The Warriors beat St. Joseph 45-20 in the first round and beat Mira Costa 49-42 in the second.
"You've got to contain their running game. They've got a really good running back, they're big up front, they're very physical. Their going to come down hill and then as soon as you pack the box they're going to spread it out and throw some receivers so you've got to slow that down" said Cooper. West Torrance is 9-3.
The game will be in Atascadero on Friday night starting at 7:00pm. If the Greyhounds win they'll play at the winner of the Palos Verdes-Valencia game.
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