Granite Bay hammers unbeaten Franklin

Defending-champion Grizzlies return to Division I section final with convincing 37-7 rout
By: Bill Poindexter, Roseville Press Tribune Sports Editor
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ELK GROVE - Granite Bay High School assembled a mighty seven-play, 86-yard touchdown drive to start Friday night's Sac-Joaquin Section Division I semifinal against top-seeded Franklin.

But the tone really was set on the ensuing possession - on Franklin's first play. Christian Fonbuena, one of three impressive running backs for the Wildcats, lost a head-on collision with two Grizzlies linemen and spit out the ball. Granite Bay's Vince Milo pounced on the ball at the Franklin 15-yard line, Grant Caraway threw a 10-yard scoring pass to Johnny Cooley three plays later, and the Grizzlies floored the Wildcats 37-7 to earn a return berth in the championship game.

Fifth-seeded Granite Bay (10-3) will play either Burbank or Oak Ridge, who meet Saturday at Burbank.

"This is the sixth week in a row we've really come out smoking," Grizzlies head coach Ernie Cooper said. "We were clicking. "

Sure, Franklin (12-1) was low on ammo going into the game. Top gainer Kyran Harris and fullback Steven Rogers had ankle injuries. Fonbuena didn't return after that first play. The trio that combined for nearly 2,500 yards rushing and 36 touchdowns through 12 games combined for four carries Friday night.

That said, the Grizzlies mauled the rest of the Wildcats. The Milo boys, Vince and Tony, each had a sack of quarterback Trent Spallas. Beau Hershberger, Cameron Smith and Mason Conen were all over the field making tackles and helping hold Franklin to 80 yards rushing.

"Our defense was very physical," Cooper said. "That first big hit, the guy fumbled. The defense set the tempo. That's a huge play."

Forced to pass, Spallas was just 13 of 32 for 178 yards. Aaron Knapp had another interception, and cornerbacks Nick Grace and Luke Bussey blasted Wildcats receivers and broke up repeated deep shots.

Cooper recalled that Oaks Christian succeeded with those pass plays against the Grizzlies in Week One.

"Now, they're not," he said. "We've grown up a lot in the secondary."

Granite Bay outgained Franklin 367-258. Tony Ellison's 43-yard blast up the middle gave the Grizzlies a quick 7-0 lead, and Colin Brown's 18-yard chip-shot field goal made it 17-0 after one quarter.

Cooley had another one-yard scoring run in the second quarter, and after Granite Bay stuffed Joey Banks for no gain on fourth and one at the Franklin 42, Caraway hit tight end Steven Graber over the middle with a 32-yard touchdown lob and a commanding 30-0 lead with 1:20 left in the first half. Caraway, who had another big game by completing 10 of 16 passes for 124 yards, saw the Franklin safety cheating to one side and went to Graber, who wasn't his first option on the play.

Fullback Taft Partridge had his second big game in a row with 94 yards in 13 carries, including an 18-yard touchdown with 40.6 seconds left, and Ellison had 92 yards in 14 carries. Granite Bay ran for 243 yards.




Granite Bay   17   13   0   7 - 37

Franklin           0      7   0   0 -   7


GB - Ellison 43 run (Brown kick)

GB - Cooley 10 pass from Caraway (Brown kick)

GB - FG Brown 18

GB - Cooley 1 run (kick wide)

GB - Graber 32 pass from Caraway (Brown kick)

Fra - Sanders 7 pass from Spallas (Ramel kick)

GB - Partridge 18 run (Brown kick)


RUSHING - Granite Bay, Cooley 15-46, Ellison 14-92, Partridge 13-94, Caraway 3-11, Geraghty 1-0. Franklin, Lampley 10-45, Banks 7-12, Harris 2-minus 4, P. Simmons 1-12, Spallas 1-6, Green 1-3, Fayne 1-3, O'Berry 1-2, Fonbuena 1-1, Rogers 1-0.

PASSING - Granite Bay, Caraway 10-16-0, 124. Franklin, Spallas 13-32-1, 178;

RECEIVING - Granite Bay, Cooley 3-32, Graber 2-50, Serna 2-17, Geraghty 1-18, Ellinwood 1-14, Ellison 1-minus 7. Franklin, D. Sanders 4-41, Lampley 3-74, R. Sanders 2-6, Vernon 1-22, Young 1-18, R. Simmons 1-10, Rogers 1-7.