Granite Bay comeback falls short against Monte VistaBy: Ike Dodson
GRANITE BAY — Sometimes Cinderella is never reunited with her lost slipper.
A stunning turnover with a minute to play spoiled Monte Vista’s golden opportunity to run out the clock Friday, but host Granite Bay failed to convert a fairy tale comeback in the waning seconds, slipping 9-3 to the Mustangs of Danville in Week Zero of the California Interscholastic Federation football season.
Neither team scored an offensive touchdown.
Granite Bay surrendered all nine points during 12 seconds of first-quarter mayhem. After a deep punt and penalty squeezed the Grizzlies to their own 3-yard line, Monte Vista busted into the backfield to tackle Anthony Martin as he received the handoff in his own end zone for a safety.
On the ensuing punt, Mustangs’ return man, Jacob Oliphant, danced through open space for a 90-yard score.
Granite Bay’s Everett Hayes missed two field goals, but he split the uprights from 34 yards out to tally the Grizzlies’ only points of the contest in the second quarter.
Monte Vista’s Connor Shay picked off Granite Bay quarterback TJ Robertson with 2:48 remaining, and the Mustangs appeared poised to run out the clock when quarterback Jack Stewardson executed a bold play-action pass for a first down with just over a minute to play.
But Granite Bay stripped the ball from the arms of Mustangs’ runner Gavin Cribbs on the next snap. Robertson completed a desperate 38-yard heave to Ty Peterson on third down, but the Grizzlies came 19 yards shy of a comeback. Robertson’s arrant pass into traffic was easily intercepted by Nate Rutchena to end the game.
“Good teams give themselves a chance to win, but better teams win, and (Monte Vista) was better than us,” Granite Bay coach Jeff Evans said. “Defensively, we pitched a shutout tonight, but offensively, we didn’t do our part, and we made too many mistakes.”
The Grizzlies, fresh off a 12-3 Sac-Joaquin Section Championship season, were favorites to win, considering Monte Vista finished 4-7 in the North Coast Section last year.
“I shudder to think how far in the ratings we are going to drop,” Evans said with a grin. “They might need to send a rescue crew for our ratings.
“But we don’t care about that kind of stuff. Really for us, it’s about getting better, and we have lot to improve on.”
The offense is a good place to start. Granite Bay managed only 224 offensive yards and was stuffed on repeated attempts to find the edge with fly-sweeps and outside runs.
“We trust our sweep, and we have a lot of good guys that can run sweeps, but (Monte Vista) was more aggressive,” Evans said. “Our guys were in the right spot, but they were running through us to get to the play.”
Robertson was 11-of-26 for 144 yards and three interceptions, but he was plagued by dropped passes in key situations. His receivers also showed tired legs, allowing defenders to stay on their hips.
“We have a lot to improve on,” Robertson said. “I’ve just got to keep throwing to them. They are going to catch them eventually.
“We are going to respond well.”
Stewardson ended 21 of 27 for 213 yards, completing 11 passes to Kyle Haener (104 yards). The Granite Bay defense allowed big gains from Tyler Perry (16 carries, 62 yards) and Cribb (eight and 57) but also made a big fourth-down stop in the second half.
Matthew Fowler landed a huge sack-fumble on Monte Vista’s opening drive to halt the Mustangs at Granite Bay’s 6-yard line.
The Grizzlies (0-1) play at Damonte Ranch of Reno, Nevada, Aug. 24, in the Mustang’s season-opener.
Granite Bay 49, Monte Vista 0
Granite Bay shellacked Monte Vista, 49-0, after two touchdowns by TJ Jones and a score apiece by Cayman Stevens, Vinny Perry, Jayden Mellinger and Nick Police. Azary Matsuda also blocked a punt, and Granite Bay nabbed three interceptions.
Granite Bay 35, Cosumnes Oaks 0