Granite Bay bombs Napa 52-0 in first round of Division I playoffs
GRANITE BAY — At 6 feet 5 inches, Steven Graber is easy to spot in a Granite Bay High School football uniform.
But the senior tight end hasn’t exactly been the most noticed — or used — player this season. Granite Bay being Granite Bay, however, that can change in a hurry.
Friday night, it was Graber deep again and again in a 52-0 obliteration of Napa in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs. Graber had touchdown catches of 19 and 30 yards, the latter on a fourth-and-two play, to help the fifth-seeded Grizzlies (8-3) advance to a quarterfinal on Nov. 16 at Modesto-Downey, a 41-6 winner over Vallejo-Bethel.
“We played our best game,” Graber said after catching five passes for 92 yards. “We’re starting to get rolling.”
Granite Bay’s keen-eyed coaching staff noticed Napa attacking the line of scrimmage and figured the Grizzlies’ play-action package would complement their running game, according to head coach Ernie Cooper. Johnny Cooley rushed for 90 of Granite Bay’s 259 yards, and quarterback Grant Caraway completed 10 of 12 passes for 167 yards and four touchdowns.
“Certain games open up for certain players,” Graber said. “We had good play-action, and it allowed me to get open.”
Junior playmaker Tony Ellison scored two touchdowns, running as always behind the blocking of fullback Taft Partridge, who mashed Napa's Zach Jones on Ellison's first score, a 21-yard fly sweep. The block sprung Ellison into the clear, and he tight-roped the visiting sideline into the end zone. Caraway's 27-yard flip to Clint Ellinwood for Granite Bay's next touchdown followed the same path, and a potential tackler in the vicinity put on the brakes and let Ellinwood sprint by when he saw the happy-to-hit Partridge steaming toward him.
Granite Bay outgained Napa 426-174, including one 14-play, 94-yard masterpiece of a march, and the Grizzlies’ defense stuffed Napa on downs at the 6-yard line en route to pitching its first shutout of the season. The Indians (7-4) threatened, but Beau Hershberger and Luke Jarvis had sacks, the Grizzlies tipped three passes at the line of scrimmage, and they intercepted Napa quarterback Manny Aguirre three times.
Aaron Knapp’s pick set up Colin Brown’s 21-yard field goal in the first quarter, which gave Granite Bay a 17-0 lead, and Spencer Castonguay and sophomore Cameron Smith had interceptions in the third quarter as the Grizzlies put away the Indians early and played the fourth quarter with a running clock.
“We were loosey-goosy, maybe a little too loose for me,” Cooper said of the Grizzlies early in the week. “But we prepared really well, and (the players) responded. We looked good on both sides of the ball.”
GRANITE BAY 52, NAPA 0
Napa 0 0 0 0 — 0
Granite Bay 17 14 7 14 — 52
GB — Ellison 21 run (Brown kick)
GB — Ellinwood 27 pass from Caraway (Brown kick)
GB — FG Brown 21
GB — Ellison 6 pass from Caraway (Brown kick)
GB — Graber 19 pass from Caraway (Brown kick)
GB — Graber 30 pass from Caraway (Brown kick)
GB — Geraghty 2 run (Brown kick)
GB — Towery 21 run (Bussey kick)
RUSHING — Napa, Jones 9-51, Aguirre 5-3, Rocha 4-11, Hunt 2-4. Granite Bay, Cooley 13-90, Ellison 12-63, Caraway 4-17, Geraghty 3-35, Partridge 2-7, Towery 1-35, York 1-7, MacKall 1-3, Ellinwood 1-2.
PASSING — Napa, Aguirre 12-27-3, 105. Granite Bay, Caraway 10-12-0, 167.
RECEIVING — Napa, Aaron 5-54, Jones 4-22, May 2-16, Rocha 1-13. Granite Bay, Graber 5-92, Partridge 2-30, Ellinwood 1-27, Brown 1-12, Ellison 1-6.