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Grizzlies running game, defense grind West

Granite Bay returns to power game
By: Kurt Johnson, Press-Tribune sports editor
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The Granite Bay High School football team celebrated its homecoming on Friday night, coming home to its running game as it returned to the home field after playing in San Diego last weekend. After showcasing the high-octane passing game in recent weeks, the Grizzlies unleashed the running game in a 35-0 win over West High School from Tracy. “We ran for just 75 yards last week in San Diego,” Granite Bay coach Ernie Cooper said. “It has been a long time since we had a total that low. This week we prepared to come out and reestablish our running game and I think we did a good job of that.” After a Justin Sutter fumble gave West a first-quarter scoring opportunity, the Grizzlies defense forced a fumble of its own and recovered in the end zone to keep the game scoreless. “That was big for us,” Cooper said. “For our defense to come up with a big stop after our fumble, while the game was still in doubt was a big stop for them.” Granite Bay then took the ball 80 yards in seven plays for the game’s first score, with a 45-yard run by Brad Crisanty on the first play highlighting the scoring march. Crisanty took it in from seven yards out to put the Grizzlies up 7-0. Another turnover on the next West possession set Granite Bay up with a short field and Granite Bay cashed in, moving 26 yards in five plays with a Clark Partridge eight-yard run providing the 14-0 margin. On its next possession, the Grizzlies needed just one play to score from 39 yards out, as Teddy Bryant was right on the money, hitting Austin Nash on a post pattern with just over seven minutes remaining in the half. Bryant put up modest passing numbers on the night compared to the huge numbers he has posted in the last two weeks, but the Grizzlies did not need to put the ball in the air in this contest. The senior signal caller threw the ball just five times, completing two, for 65 yards and the Nash touchdown. The Granite Bay defense, led by Ryan Bertrand and Ryan Loder, was outstanding all night long, holding West to 163 yards of total offense. The fumble recoveries by Cameron Brown and Mike Wade were huge for the Grizzlies. Granite Bay scored twice more after intermission to put the game away, starting with an impressive long clock-eating drive to open the third quarter. Alternating carries between Crisanty, Partridge and Sutter, the Grizzlies traveled 83 yards in 12 plays before Sutter capped off the march with a one-yard plunge. With the 28-0 lead and the game secure, Cooper took advantage of the opportunity to empty the bench. The Granite Bay second team produced the final touchdown on an eight-play, 36-yard drive late in the fourth. Alex Asturias was the ball carrier on six of the eight plays, powering his way for 34 yards on the march, including the final three yards to pay dirt. The Grizzlies now will look ahead to opening the Sierra Foothill League season against Del Oro next Friday night. The Golden Eagles sport a 2-3 record, but have faced a murderous non-league schedule. This game will be a test for both teams, as the league season puts everyone back on equal footing. The Golden Eagles will come to Granite Bay on Friday night with a great deal of confidence off of a big 27-22 win over previously unbeaten Elk Grove on Friday. “In that, Del Oro is in the same place we are, since everything we do before league opens is to prepare us for league,” Cooper said. “I think we established that we can throw it and catch it, and tonight we got back to the running game. Our defense continues to be strong, as it has all season long.” In the junior varsity contest, a Granite Bay drive in the final moments ended with an interception as West knocked off the Grizzlies 14-8.