Granite Bay has SFL championship all to itself
GRASS VALLEY — Granite Bay High School wrapped up its 10th league championship in 16 seasons of varsity football, and Friday night’s 38-7 shellacking of Nevada Union gave the Grizzlies their first outright league title since 2004.
Junior Tony Ellison ran for 108 yards and two touchdowns, senior Johnny Cooley ran for 92 yards and a score, and senior quarterback Grant Caraway had another efficient night by completing 11 of 14 passes for 109 yards and a touchdown to lead Granite Bay (7-3 overall, 5-0 Sierra Foothill League).
Minus a 40-yard scramble by Nevada Union quarterback Kyle Cota, the Grizzlies held the Miners (5-5, 2-3) to 43 yards rushing in 14 other carries and limited Cota to 11-of-23 passing for 182 yards.
“We’re proud tonight,” head coach Ernie Cooper said. “This is a good league. We wanted to know if this was the team that was going to get us back to being the champions of the SFL.”
Granite Bay’s defense sacked Cota four times, and senior Nick Grace recovered a huge fumble in the end zone with Nevada Union having a first and goal at the 1-yard line late in the first half. The Grizzlies then drove 80 yards in seven plays and took a 21-7 halftime lead on Caraway’s touchdown lob to Graber.
Ian Davis, Nevada Union's big-play receiver caught five passes for 130 yards and the Miners' only touchdown, but the Grizzlies showed him different coverages and different personnel. Combined with Nevada Union deciding for the most part not to run into Granite Bay's swarming front, the Grizzlies forced five punts, and Tyler Arneson recovered another fumble in the third quarter that set up a 10-play, 50-yard drive to Colin Brown's 19-yard chip-shot field goal for a 31-7 advantage.
Cooper credited defensive coordinator John Roza with devising "a hell of a game plan."
On top of all that, Taft Partridge punished Nevada Union's front with 47 yards in 10 carries, including a touchdown, and Caraway gained 31 yards on three designed keepers.
“It’s a real honor,” Granite Bay senior Aaron Knapp said. “This is a great league. This puts us up there with the great Granite Bay teams.”
The Grizzlies on Saturday were named the No. 5 seed in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs and will play host to No. 12 Napa on Friday, Nov. 9. The teams also met in the first round last season with Granite Bay winning 31-7 en route to the Division I championship.
Napa is 7-3 overall this season and went 4-1 in the Monticello Empire League, losing only to champion Vacaville 35-14. Granite Bay defeated Vacaville 47-21 on Sept. 14.
All playoff brackets are available on the section's Web site at www.cifsjs.org.
GRANITE BAY 38, NEVADA UNION 7
Granite Bay 7 14 10 7 — 38
Nevada Union 7 0 0 0 — 7
GB — Cooley 34 run (Brown kick)
NU — Davis 30 pass from Cota (kick good)
GB — Partridge 1 run (Brown kick)
GB — Graber 16 pass from Caraway (Brown kick)
GB — Ellison 7 run (Brown kick)
GB — FG Brown 19
GB — Ellison 8 run (Brown kick)
RUSHING — Granite Bay, Ellison 15-108, Cooley 15-92, Partridge 10-47, Caraway 3-31, Ellinwood 2-6, Geraghty 1-3. Nevada Union, Vallejo 4-7, Berger 3-7, Dickinson 3-3, Cota 2-46, Freele 2-4, Humphers 1-16.
PASSING — Granite Bay, Caraway 11-14-0, 109. Nevada Union, Cota 11-23-0, 182.
RECEIVING — Granite Bay, Ellison 4-45, Cooley 2-18, Ellis 1-17, Graber 1-16, Brown 1-8, Ellinwood 1-7, Partridge 1-minus 2.