Jr. Vikings win high-scoring affair with Granite Bay

Late interception key to Oakmont victory
By: Brett Ransford, Press Tribune Correspondent
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Week eight of the SYFC Sierra Valley Division had the Oakmont Jr. Viking Midgets (3-5) winning their last home game of the season 38-30, holding off the Granite Bay Jr. Grizzlies (1-7). It was a back-and-forth game with one tie and five lead changes until a late interception allowed the Jr. Vikings to seal up a 38-30 victory. Justin Baser intercepted a pass from Granite Bay quarterback Joshua Neal, who finished with over 70 yards passing and an interception. The Jr. Grizzlies were in prime position to score but Baser stole it away streaking up field to the Granite Bay 29-yard-line. Granite Bay opened the game with a bang as Tony Ellison returned the opening kickoff 80 yards for a score to put the Jr. Grizzlies up 8-0. The Vikings didn’t wait long before striking back. “After giving up that first touchdown they responded really well,” said Oakmont head coach Curt Olsen. Beginning a drive at his own 34-yard-line, Oakmont’s Jake Harris broke 72 yards for his team’s first points to tie the game at 8-8/ “We overcame our own mistakes,” Olsen said. “We felt like we could run the football a lot and it played out over time. I think we just started imposing our will on them and shuffling down the field. Granite Bay being so close there’s some kids on that team who used to play on Oakmont so it was a big deal for the kids, they wanted to go away with the win.” Matching Ellison, who scored three times for the Jr. Grizzlies, on the other side of the ball for Oakmont was Peyton Wilfley with three of his own, on a trio of quarterback sneaks. “That was a tough loss for us,” said Granite Bay Head Coach Dan Ward. “Besides the one against Woodcreek this was the only other game we’ve been in, kept out heads up and fought pretty well. We’ve had a pretty tough and challenging season. We’re just going to go to work, pick our heads up and get better. Hopefully these kids can take something with them into high school.” Keeping the drama going late was Granite Bay’s Dante Weeks. He intercepted one of Wilfley’s passes leading to a 5-yard touchdown run by Cameron Smith to put the Jr. Grizzlies up 30-26. Down by four points Harris broke out again for a touchdown this time for 18 yards and a 32-30 lead over Granite Bay inside five minutes left in the fourth. After Baser’s interception Tresten Keys added a 26-yard touchdown to the Vikings’ lead. Granite Bay’s last possession was intercepted by Ronald Quinn and Oakmont knelt twice to end a very proud game for Coach Olsen. “They’re playing so much better as a team,” said Olsen. “They’ve developed much more confidence and our older kids have rallied around and brought the team together.” Rallying into week nine, the Jr. Vikings will head to Rocklin (4-4) for their last games of the season. The Jr. Thunder enter that game off a 28-0 loss to Del Oro (8-0). Coach Burns will return only four players next season. Hoping to send his Jr. Grizzlies into high school on a football-high note, Granite Bay hosts Roseville (1-7) in week nine to close out both teams’ seasons.