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Mistakes doom Granite Bay in loss to state power Westlake

Grizzlies commit 10 penalties, three turnovers
By: Bill Poindexter/Roseville Press Tribune Sports Editor
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LOOMIS—Sierra Foothill League and Sac-Joaquin Section playoff competition aside, Granite Bay High School played under a different set of lights Saturday night in the finale of the Battle for Veterans at Del Oro.

The Grizzlies danced with Westlake Village-Westlake, ranked sixth in the state by www.maxpreps.com. The Warriors lost once last season, to state alpha dog Concord-De La Salle in the CIF Open State Bowl Game.

And with several new starters lining up across the line of scrimmage, the Grizzlies committed 10 penalties for 101 yards and had three turnovers in a 24-6 loss.

“We showed some immaturity in what happened on the field,” Grizzlies head coach Ernie Cooper said.

Reaching double figures in penalties is rare for this disciplined program, and Granite Bay drew a variety of yellow flags: pass interference on Westlake’s game-opening 10-play, 77-yard touchdown drive; roughing the passer;
unsportsmanlike conduct; two blocks in the back, one of which nullified a 39-yard punt return for a touchdown by junior Tony Ellison in the third quarter.

Granite Bay trailed 17-0 at halftime but gained momentum in the third quarter, running 23 plays to Westlake’s six.

The Grizzlies came up empty in the period but in the second half rushed for 111 of their 166 yards, and the game’s leading rusher was Granite Bay senior Johnny Cooley with 83 yards in 20 carries, not Westlake’s Dashon Hunt, who’s coming off a 1,274-yard, 18-touchdown campaign. The senior carried just two times in the middle two quarters and ended the night with 71 yards in 14 carries.

“The defense got stronger as the game went on. That’s a good sign,” Cooper said. “We started to push them around up front.”

The Grizzlies took possession at midfield late in the third quarter and took 13 plays to find the end zone with Cooley diving in from the 1-yard line with 8:26 remaining in the game.

Granite Bay held Westlake at the 9-yard line, and the Warriors missed a 26-yard field-goal attempt.

But Grant Caraway’s second interception of the second half set up Westlake at the Granite Bay 29, and Neil Uskali’s 17-yard touchdown lob to Alex Egurbide with 1:11 left clinched it.

Uskali rotated at quarterback with Danny Hong and junior Tommy Gonzales.
Justin Moore, who combined for 3,582 yards passing and rushing and 40 touchdowns last season in leading the Warriors to the State Bowl Game, isn’t playing this season.

WESTLAKE 24, GRANITE BAY 6

Westlake     10   7   0   7 — 24
Granite Bay   0   0   0   6 —   6

West — Ray 3 run (Robledo kick)
West — FG Robledo 37
West — Rothschiller 35 pass from Gonzales (Weilbacher kick)
GB — Cooley 1 run (kick blocked)
West — Egurbide 17 pass from Uskali (Weilbacher kick)

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING— W estlake, Hunt 14-71, Ray 3-6, Hong 2-minus 8, Gonzales 1-8, Uskali 1-minus 2. Granite Bay, Cooley 20-83, Partridge 8-22, Ellison 7-23, Geraghty 4-30, Towery 2-6, Ellinwood 1-3, Caraway 1-1, Grace 1-minus 2.

PASSING — Westlake, Uskali 6-12-0, 84; Hong 4-4-0, 75; Gonzales 0-2-0, 0. Granite Bay, Caraway 9-18-2, 66.

RECEIVING — Westlake, Egurbide 3-45. Granite Bay, Graber 3-33, Partridge 2-11, Serna 2-8, Ellison 1-8, Cooley 1-6.