Going up against Morro Bay, a CIF-Southern Section school that is 220-miles and nearly five hours away from their comfortable surroundings in the South Bay, San Pedro would start slow offensively in the first half, but would eventually find themselves in a strong third quarter before eventually shutting out Morro Bay, 21-0 in an intersectional showdown.
Senior RB/LB Pete Palacios would provide the biggest play of the game, as on the first play from scrimmage in the third quarter, he would get a gaping hole created by the offensive line and would burst right through it for a 73-yard touchdown to punctuate a strong performance by the Pirates, who also had an impressive defensive showing in limiting Morro Bay, a team who averaged 260 yards rushing last year, to -4 yards on the ground.
"Offensively we started slow but after a while, we got our stuff together and made some halftime adjustments," said Palacios, who ran for 150 yards on 11 carries and two touchdowns. "After that, one block away and we were gone."
The first quarter saw neither San Pedro, nor Morro Bay, two teams that share the same mascot (Pirates), get a first down, and both teams also turned it over once. San Pedro sophomore DB Antonio Frazier recovered a fumble off a botched lateral pass by Morro Bay quarterback Dan Beavers with 1:16 left in the first quarter.
Overall, it was so frustrating for San Pedro in the first half, that head coach Mike Walsh burned all three of his timeouts once 7:56 was left in the second quarter.
Palacios' 13-yard touchdown run with 11:07 left in the second quarter gave San Pedro a 7-0 lead, and late in the first half the Pirates' defense would stiffen tight once Morro Bay drove down field to San Pedro's three-yard line. On the last two plays, back-to-back stops by senior linebacker Rudy Alvidrez and senior defensive lineman Manoah Tuiasosopo would stall Morro Bay's first goal-line opportunity with 13 seconds remaining.
"We did what we had to do," Alvidrez said.
Once Palacios broke free for the backbreaking 73-yard score, it awoken San Pedro from their 'first-game jitters'.
"All I told the (offensive) line was, one block away and we're breaking it." Palacios said. "I give props to the line and the fullback (Tuiasosopo) for that score."
After a quick three-and-out, the line would impose their will on Morro Bay (0-1) on their next offensive series, ending a long drive with a six-yard touchdown run by junior running back Chris Alvidrez, Rudy's brother, who also ran for 109 yards on 15 carries. San Pedro's defense then put it away with yet another goal-line stop late in the third quarter with back-to-back stops by senior defensive tackle Luis Lona and junior defensive lineman Jaylynn Hawkins.
Sophomore quarterback Jacob Miller did not complete a pass in four attempts with an interception for San Pedro, but it hardly mattered on this night. Beavers completed 8-of-17 passes for 132 yards for Morro Bay.
San Pedro returns home for their next game against Locke of Los Angeles next Friday.