Granite Bay is better late than ever

Grizzlies score final 33 points to drench Enochs, will host Monterey Trail in Division I semifinals
By: Bill Poindexter
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MODESTO – Granite Bay High School’s football team arrived later than planned at Downey High School for Friday night’s Sac-Joaquin Section Division I quarterfinal game against Enochs – like most other people who played the stop-and-go game with weekend getaway traffic and wrecks on rain-slickened Highway 99.

The Grizzlies couldn’t do their normal pregame walk-through, so their game was a little late in arriving, too.

But in keeping with a growing trend, they scored two touchdowns in the final 2½ minutes of the first half and tacked on three more in the second half to fly away from the Eagles 33-10.

Sixth-seeded Granite Bay (9-3) will be host to 10th-seeded Monterey Trail (9-3) of Elk Grove at 7 p.m. Friday. The Mustangs upended second-seeded Napa 14-6 in their quarterfinal.

Quarterback Brendan Keeney was 2 for 8 passing with an interception before completing six of his next nine for 107 yards in the final three minutes of the first half. Those included touchdown passes of 15 and 24 yards to Tanner Holt, the second with 15 seconds left in the half.

The Grizzlies had a nine-yard touchdown throw from Keeney to Michael Bertolino nullified by a holding penalty one play before the second strike to Holt, but that didn’t stop them from turning a 10-0 deficit into a 12-10 lead.

Holt was guarded mostly by Herbert Whitehurst, Enochs’ top offensive weapon. Keeney and Holt worked the left sideline. Holt shook a Whitehurst tackle at the 6-yard line on the first score.

“He’s slick isn’t he, when he catches it, then he makes yards after the catch,” Granite Bay coach Ernie Cooper said. “We threw that skinny post. That was a thing of beauty. People think that’s easy to do? That is not easy to do. Tanner put a little outside move and then broke back to the post. And gosh darn, did Brendan put the ball right on the money.

“We’re going in at 12-10, and we had stunk it up most of the first half.”

Chris Campbell, the Grizzlies’ all-purpose threat with the lead foot and blazing speed, wasn’t particularly pleased with his performance in the first half. He missed both extra-point kicks wide right. Cooper had a talk with the senior at halftime.

“I told him, ‘Chris, you’re one of the hardest workers I’ve ever had in my coaching career. You do everything the right way, you’re a great kid on campus, in the classroom, everybody respects you,’ ” Cooper said. “He just felt like he was letting the team down, and I said, ‘Just the total opposite. You are one of the guys I point to as what Grizzly pride is all about. You’re not a robot. Just relax. We all make mistakes. I make more than my share. Just relax and have fun in the second half. We all love ya.’ ”

Campbell obviously felt the love. He caught a 46-yard bomb from Keeney on the second play of the fourth quarter, beating defender Joseph Gergis at the 10-yard line.

Granite Bay held the Eagles on three downs, and Campbell applied the coup de grace with a 79-yard blast for a touchdown on the Grizzlies’ first play, a minute and three seconds after his scoring catch.

Campbell also made tackles on special teams and yes, he made his last three extra-point kicks.

“Tonight was my night to step,” Campbell said, noting an ankle injury to Cory Brehm, sustained in the second quarter, and an apparent knee injury to Bertolino, sustained during a punt return late in the third quarter.

Danny Thomas rushed 13 times for 88 yards and scored on a two-yard run late in the third period to give Granite Bay a 19-10 lead. The Grizzlies rushed for 260 yards.

“The key plays, obviously, is when we score right before half, when Tanner had those nice catches, and then that throw to Chris Campbell, the long touchdown, and then he comes right back and then scores on a sweep play,” Cooper said. “All the inside running helped set up the sweep, and then Chris takes it to the house. There’s the game right there.”

The Grizzlies totaled 467 yards and held Enochs to 252 yards. Andrew Wright and Grant Gunderson led a defensive effort that limited Whitehurst to 50 yards in 13 carries. Granite Bay also sacked Christian Kahler four times, including 1½ by Nik Reeves.

Bill Poindexter can be reached at

Granite Bay 33, Enochs 10
Granite Bay 0 12 7 14 – 33
Enochs 0 10 0 0 – 10

Eno – Whitehurst 12 run (Kahler kick)
Eno – FG Herring 43
GB – Holt 15 pass from Keeney (kick wide)
GB – Holt 24 pass from Keeney (kick wide)
GB – Thomas 2 run (C. Campbell kick)
GB – C. Campbell 46 pass from Keeney (C. Campbell kick)
GB – C. Campbell 79 run (C. Campbell kick)

Individual statistics
RUSHING – Granite Bay, Thomas 13-88, Brehm 5-35, Bertolino 4-21, Pierce 3-16, Lucia 3-10, Partridge 2-14, C. Campbell 1-79, Marenco 1-minus 3. Enochs, Whitehurst 13-50, Kahler 6-minus 5, Price 3-18, Henton 3-7, M. Campbell 1-4.
PASSING – Granite Bay, Keeney 10-21-1, 187. Enochs, Kahler 16-30-0, 193; Alvarez 0-1-0, 0.
RECEIVING – Granite Bay, Holt 5-107, C. Campbell 1-46, Kasner 1-17, Bertolino 1-10, Brehm 1-7, Pierce 1-0. Enochs, Whitehurst 4-19, Quevedo 3-85, Medina 3-38, Fry 2-18, Luna 1-12, Price 1-10, Alvarez 1-8, Schwark 1-3.



What: Sac-Joaquin Section Division I semifinal

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Where: Granite Bay High School, 1 Grizzly Way

About Monterey Trail: The Mustangs (9-3) are best known this season for coming within a minute of beating Grant. Monterey Trail runs with the best of them. Drake Tofi has rushed for 1,898 yards and 23 touchdowns, Derek Bellamy has 1,062 yards and 14 scores, and quarterback Mike Calvan has 616 yards rushing and six touchdowns to go with 761 yards passing and nine scores.