Another Keeney steps up for Granite Bay
CARSON - The name Keeney remains familiar to Granite Bay High School football fans.
Brendan Keeney was the starting quarterback for the Grizzlies for three years and culminated his prep career with a Sac-Joaquin Section championship last season, the school's first in Division I. He moved on to Cal as a preferred walk-on this season, but another Keeney is carrying on the family name at Granite Bay.
Dylan Keeney announced his arrival Friday night with two interceptions in Granite Bay's 21-20 victory over Long Beach Poly in the CIF State Division I Bowl Game. Keeney reached high and leaned back for his first interception, which gave the Grizzlies the ball at the Poly 42-yard line and led to Colin Brown's 37-yard field goal with 2:27 left in the first half, Granite Bay's first points.
His second pick came with 4:36 left in the third quarter. Keeney read a Poly route, stepped in front of the receiver and went 29 yards along the sideline for a touchdown. Taft Partridge's two-point conversion plunge gave Granite Bay a 14-7 lead.
Keeney, a 6-foot-5, 210-pound junior, spent much of this season on special-teams duty. His downfield pursuit and first-guy-to-the-ball tendencies netted several primary tackles for a special-teams unit that swarmed opposing return men this season.
"We have no holes," he said of Granite Bay's senior-dominated unit. "We have a stacked defense."
But hard work in practice and production on special teams earned Keeney increased time at outside linebacker, and when the Grizzlies installed their game plan for Poly, Keeney was included in several packages. He said the Grizzlies anticipated a deep curl route on his pick six.
"We knew it was coming," said Keeney, who also had four tackles, including one for a six-yard loss.
Junior Jack Dockham also saw his playing time increase throughout the playoffs, and junior Luke Bussey had an interception.
"Our junior kids stepped up big time," head coach Ernie Cooper said, crediting senior defensive backs Aaron Knapp and Nick Grace with coaching up the juniors.
Knapp also had two of Granite Bay's five interceptions, a record for a State Bowl Game, including the clincher on a Hail Mary heave with 25 seconds left.