Granite Bay vs. S.F.-St. Ignatius: A look at tonight's NorCal Regional Division I playoff
What: CIF Northern California Regional Division I football playoff
Who: Granite Bay vs. San Francisco-St. Ignatius
When/Where: 7:30 p.m. at Sacramento State
Tickets: $12 for adults and $8 for seniors, high school students with an ASB card and children.
TV: SureWest (Channel 98), Comcast (Channel 104).
Game updates: Follow Press Tribune Sports Editor Bill Poindexter on Twitter at BillP_RsvPT.
About St. Ignatius: Like Granite Bay, the Wildcats (10-3) enter this first NorCal Regional playoff on a roll. St. Ignatius went 5-2 and tied for second in the West Catholic Athletic League, every bit as rugged as the Sierra Foothill League. The Wildcats lost back-to-back games to league champ San Jose-Bellarmine and San Mateo-Serra but defeated Bellarmine 13-10 in overtime last week to win their first Central Coast Section championship in the Open division. With more than 1,400 yards, 5-foot-8, 175-pound junior Elijah Dale has produced more than 60 percent of the Wildcats’ rushing offense. Jack Stinn, a 6-foot, 193-pound senior, has passed for more than 2,000 yards. His favorite target is 6-5 senior Andrew Vollert. In addition to having a great name for a linebacker, 6-foot, 210-pound senior Noah Bull is the leading tackler for a defense that has 12 interceptions, 11 sacks and nine fumble recoveries. Senior Albert Waters is one to watch. The 5-9, 160-pounder has five interceptions, a fumble recovery and a forced fumble on defense, he had a 95-yard kickoff return against San Jose-Valley Christian, and he rushed for 136 yards and two touchdowns in 13 carries against San Francisco-Sacred Heart Cathedral.
About Granite Bay: As the Grizzlies continue to extend their season, their numbers are enough to overheat a calculator. Junior playmaker Tony Ellison broke 1,000 yards rushing last week against Oak Ridge and now has 1,096 yards. He also has 505 yards receiving on 45 catches, 475 yards in kick returns and 230 yards in punt returns — and an astounding return average of 20.9 yards — for a grand total of (drum roll, please) 2,306 all-purpose yards. Oh, Ellison also leads the Grizzlies with 19 touchdowns. … Senior quarterback Grant Caraway continues to complete passes at a 65-percent clip for 1,638 yards and 27 touchdowns against just five interceptions for a sparkling QB rating of 119. Senior Johnny Cooley has 1,341 yards rushing and 13 touchdowns, and senior fullback Taft Partridge now has 758 yards and eight scores after last week’s 235-yard rampage, which included an 84-yard romp in the fourth quarter. Senior tight end Steven Graber has 11 touchdowns among his 25 catches. … Sophomore linebacker Cameron Smith added 16 tackles to his season total of 178 (that’s 12.7 per game), and his two big interceptions gave him four this season, along with 3½ sacks. Senior Beau Hershberger has four of Granite Bay’s 20½ sacks. A 16-tackle night against Oak Ridge gave senior linebacker Mason Conen 105 this season. The Grizzlies have 19 interceptions, including 10 by the secondary of Aaron Knapp, Nick Grace and Luke Bussey. … And finally, the cherry on top: Granite Bay’s offensive line of Parker Doyle, Kevin Blank, Justin Ramirez (first-team All-SFL selections all), Braulio Gonzalez and Austin Smith held Oak Ridge to one sack. The Trojans entered the game with 44½, including a state-leading 25 by Zack Claiborne. He finished his senior season with 25½ after sharing Oak Ridge’s lone sack.
De La Salle comes to town: Mighty Concord-De La Salle, the longtime national power, will play Folsom in the NorCal Regional Open division playoff game at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Sacramento State. You might want to secure tickets now. Folsom’s highly hyped rematch with Grant in the Division II section final in 2010 packed Hornet Stadium with a crowd of more than 20,000.