Aug 24, 2013 9:06 PM by Bill Halter
The Paso Robles football team lost 21 seniors from a squad that went 6-5 last year. The Bearcats lost 43-36 at Valencia in the first round of the CIF playoffs after finishing fourth in the Pac-7.
This years Bearcats are led by a strong junior class that includes quarterback Gunnar Griffin and wide receiver Bailey Gaither. Griffin completed 10 of 17 passes for 126 yards and a touchdown as the backup to Garrett Nelson last year. His touchdown pass was to Gaither who had eight catches for scores to go along with 780 yards receiving.
Head Coach Rich Shimke has 104 career wins and with his years of experience usually has a good feel for his team at this point. He's excited because he thinks his team is extremely "united." "They really pull for each other, they've got each others backs and I'm not just saying that. I've done it a long time and you know when you've got something special. And if the pieces of the puzzle continue to come together like they are, it's going to be a special year" said Schimke.
Rival Atascadero is being looked at by most around the Pac-7 as preseason favorites, Griffin agrees with that assesment but expects his team to have a say in the league championship. "We want to be league champs this year, we really want to go undefeated and make it deep into CIF playoffs" said Griffin.
The Bearcats will once again play Atascadero in the final game of the regular season. This years game will be in Paso Robles, last year the Bearcats beat the Greyhounds, 16-14 in Atascadero.
Coach Schimke says right now it is a five person running back by committee approach to replace Colton Madrigal. Madrigal rushed for 1,553 yards and 15 touchdowns as a senior last year.
Paso Robles opens up on Saturday in Fresno against Bullard. The Knights beat the Bearcats in Paso Robles, 33-14 to start last season. Bullard was 8-4 last season, advancing to the second round of the Division-1, Central Section playoffs.
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