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Grizzlies get ready for road trip

Local businesses team up to help the defending section champs on ’Send the Varsity to San Diego Day’
By: Joanna Jullien Special to The Press-Tribune
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If you feel like eating pizza, a hamburger or drinking a smoothie next Monday, you can enjoy your food and help the Granite Bay High School football team at the same time. Monday is Send the Varsity to San Diego Day, a campaign launched to rally local businesses and consumers to support the Granite Bay High Grizzlies football team travel to San Diego for a game against Point Loma High School Saturday, Oct. 4. Consumers are encouraged on this particular day to patronize the businesses that have pledged contributions to help cover the additional travel costs. BJ’s Restaurant on East Roseville Parkway, The Habit and Jamba Juice on Sierra College Boulevard at Douglas Boulevard and Quarry Ponds in Granite Bay have all pledged to donate a percentage of sales to customers who bring the Send the Varsity to San Diego Day flyer. (To download the flyer and/or make a donation, please go to www.gbtouchdownclub.com). Last year the Granite Bay High School football program won the Sac-Joaquin Division II section title and the program celebrated the 100th win with head coach Ernie Cooper at the helm. Even though the varsity team suffered a stunning defeat in their first league game against Rocklin (0-33) at Granite Bay’s homecoming, they turned it into a state section championship victory. They finished the season seven weeks later holding the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section, Division II title. Why travel to San Diego? According to Cooper the pre-season schedule developed conflicts with the normal line up of opponents. “We’re about playing the best,” Cooper said. “We had a hard time finding a game for that week of Oct 4. Point Loma was a good match for us because they had good experience (made it to section playoffs over the last three years) and they have a student body of about 2,000.” Cooper also said the trip to San Diego to play such a worthy opponent is an important signal to the players that they are expected to step it up. “It’s a big deal to travel so far and play a strong opponent,” said varsity quarterback Teddy Bryant. “We want to do our best; just do the best job we can.” According to Cooper any young man at Granite Bay High who is willing and able to make strong academic grades, follow the rules, be loyal to their team and commit to the football program has a place on the team. “It’s not how good you are, it’s what kind of person you are,” Cooper said. For varsity fullback Clark Partridge, this trip to San Diego and ultimately defending the title is his final call to action for his high school career, and sets the bar even higher. “It’s a new thing,” Partridge said. “We have never traveled this far before. Defending the title means everything – especially as seniors because this is our last chance.” The Granite Bay Grizzlies football program engages approximately 180 high school students each year – and there are no cuts based upon athletic ability. To ensure that no student who qualifies is turned away, the program sponsors students whose families encounter financial hardship. The program operates 10 months of the year with spring and summer training in addition to the football season. Each Thanksgiving Day the varsity team helps feed the homeless, and every spring the football players hold a car wash free to all as a thank you for the community support of the program. For more information or to make a donation visit www.gb-touchdownclub.com or contact Scott Vanderbeek at thebeekers@msn.com or Scott Shaull at scotts@baysideonline.com.